Great white fathers : the story of the obsessive quest to create Mount Rushmore

by Taliaferro, John, 1952-

Format: Print Book 2002
Availability: Available at 4 Libraries 4 of 4 copies
Available (4)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction F657.R8 T35 2002
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  F657.R8 T35 2002
Community Library of Allegheny Valley - Harrison Non Fiction 978.3 TALIAFERRO
Location  Community Library of Allegheny Valley - Harrison
Collection  Non Fiction
Call Number  978.3 TALIAFERRO
Penn Hills Library Non-Fiction 978.3 TAL
Location  Penn Hills Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  978.3 TAL
Wilkinsburg Public Library Nonfiction MODERN HISTORY 978.3 TAL 2002
Location  Wilkinsburg Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  MODERN HISTORY 978.3 TAL 2002
The unlikely story of one of the oddest monuments in American history, its obsessive mastermind, and our misguided attempts to create an American heritage.. Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, hoped that ten thousand years from now, when archaeologists came upon the four sixty-foot presidential heads carved in the Black Hills of South Dakota, they would have a clear and graphic understanding of American civilization. Borglum, the child of Mormon polygamists, had an almost Ahab-like obsession with Colossalism-a scale that matched his ego and the era. He learned how to be a celebrity from Auguste Rodin; how to be a political bully from Teddy Roosevelt. He ran with the Ku Klux Klan and mingled with the rich and famous from Wall Street to Washington. Mount Rushmore was to be his crowning achievement, the newest wonder of the world, the greatest piece of public art since Phidias carved the Parthenon. But like so many episodes in the saga of the American West, what began as a personal dream had to be bailed out by the federal government, a compromise that nearly drove Borglum mad. Nor in the end could he control how his masterpiece would be received. Nor its
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "On page one of this history of Mt. Rushmore, Taliaferro proposes to answer "the questions that any archaeologist would ask": Who are the men represented, how were they chosen, how were they carved, by whom, who visits this shrine? In the end, this overly modest mission statement is the only false note in an impressive work. Like the outsized sculptures blasted out of a granite mountainside, this history, by a former Newsweek editor, is massive, descriptive yet never blandly representational and filled with characters as fully realized as the Mt. Rushmore busts. The central figure is Rushmore's "father"-sculptor Gutzon Borglum (1867-1941), a fascinating study in contradictions: a great talent, but a hopeless businessman; a patriot who was also a bigot; a family man who lied about his parentage and ditched his first, much older wife to marry a younger woman who could bear children. Taliaferro (Tarzan Forever: The Life of Edgar Rice Burroughs) also uses the story of a monument as a springboard from which to explore the tensions within the American dream: an empire built on slave labor and on land stolen from the Indians; reverence for the common man combined with an infatuation with larger-than-life heroes; a love of the landscape that often takes a backseat to the quest for profit. Like Borglum, Taliaferro set himself a Sisyphean task and has produced a work that is both inspiring and thought provoking. 8 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Borglum, Gutzon, -- 1867-1941.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial (S.D.) -- History.
Publisher New York :PublicAffairs,2002
Edition 1st ed.
Language English
Description 453 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages [417]-440) and index.
ISBN 1891620983
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