Washington is known around the world for its power, symbolized in daily television news bulletins with the White House or Capitol as background images. But it is the sheer beauty of the place that attracts millions of people to visit the capital city each year, and that continues to surprise and delight the more than half a million souls who call it home. Among such residents are architectural photographer John Cleave and architecture critic Benjamin Forgey, who collaborated to produce this book celebrating Washington's many, and varied, charms.
The city's beauty is no accident. Washington was founded not long after the Revolutionary War as a visionary experiment, a place intended to embody the highest ideals of the young American democracy. These ambitions were inscribed in the audacious city plan created by Major Pierre Charles L'Enfant, a multi-talented associate of George Washington—the most important of the city's founders and, not incidentally, the hero for whom the capital was named. In images and words Cleave and Forgey chronicle the city's transformation from near wilderness to world capital. In so doing, they provide a memorable portrait of an endlessly fascinating—and beautiful—city.
John Cleaveis an architectural photographer working in Washington where he has lived for over 30 years. His photographs have been widely shown and published in books and journals, and he has lectured in photography for the Smithsonian Institution. Britain-born Cleave was for many years with the World Bank and holds degrees in economics from London and Oxford and a PhD from Stanford.
Benjamin Forgey is the architecture critic of the Washington Post where his weekly Cityscape column has been informing, provoking and entertaining readers for two decades. A long-time resident of the city, Forgey also writes articles and reviews for a number of national publications.
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