From its beginnings as a tiny rail-line settlement in 1837 to its emergence as the designated host city for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, Atlanta has been on the move. Its dramatic and ever-changing skyline attests to the fact that it is one of America’s most dynamic cities—the epitome of what has come ot be known as the “New South.” Yet for all its striking modern architecture, Atlanta is much more than a collection of soaring skyscrapers, as David King Gleason makes clear in this beautiful new book, featuring some 150 color photographs of Georgia’s capital city in all its splendid variety. Here are Atlanta’s impressive business towers, familiar to travelers from all over the world, but here too are its bucolic neighborhoods and parks, its decades-old landmarks and educational institutions, its sporting and entertainment facilities, its museums and theaters.
With his camera Gleason roams from downtown, where the nineteenth-century ornateness of the gold-domed State Capitol contrasts with the ultramodern designs of recently built skyscrapers, to the outskirts of this sprawling city, were the winding Chattachoochee River and the mammoth carved granite dome of Stone Mountain attract visitors year-round. He discloses the diversity of Atlanta’s many neighborhoods in shots of the rejuvenated Midtown section, whose well-established residential enclaves now sit almost cheek by jowl with new office buildings, and farther to the north, in photographs of the thriving Buckhead area, the site of some of the city’s most impressive mansions of the past as well as of more recent vintage.
Reflecting Atlanta’s importance as an educational center, Gleason includes photographs of such institutions as Emory University, Georgia Tech, and the various colleges (Morehouse, Spelman, and others) that make up the Atlanta University Center. Photographs of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthplace and of the Carter Presidential Center are just two reminders that Georgians have often been at the forefront of political progress in America. The city’s interest in culture and recreation is represented in images of the High Museums of Art, the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Underground Atlanta, and the many sporting venues where both college and professional teams compete.
An introduction by the Atlanta poet and physician John Stone and captions by newspaper journalist Don O’Briant complement Gleason’s evocative photographs. Anyone—longtime resident, newcomer, and visitor alike—will find this a book to keep and treasure.
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