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Drawn to Landscape

The Pioneering Work of J. B. Jackson
Edited by Janet Mendelsohn and Christopher Wilson

BUY Cloth · 152 pp. · 9.5 × 9 · ISBN 9781938086359 · $75.00 · Nov 2015
BUY Paper · 152 pp. · 9.5 × 9 · ISBN 9781938086366 · $35.00 · Nov 2015

From 1951 to 1969, John Brinckerhoff (J. B.) Jackson founded, edited, and published Landscape, a magazine that changed the way scholars, writers, teachers, designers, planners, and artists came to understand the everyday places that surround us and influence us in fundamental ways. Then, as a lecturer at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley, Jackson further pioneered "landscape studies," a field through which he continues to inspire those who study and interpret landscapes, whether urban, rural, suburban, social, or wild.

Drawn to Landscape is the first book to present fully the many aspects of Jackson's career. Including original essays by those who not only knew him best but who have carried his torch to new heights in their own respective work, the book sheds valuable light on Jackson’s life and oeuvre, from the time of his childhood to his death in 1996, as well as on his many legacies that remain today. Also included, some pieces reproduced for the first time, is a wide-ranging display of Jackson's original drawings, watercolors, and teaching slides.

J. B. Jackson taught us to pay attention to the often overlooked but defining features of our landscapes, such as the road and commercial strip, the garage and backyard, and flea markets and borderlands, as well as changing recreational uses of the land, the necessity for ruins and the inherent artificiality of historic preservation, and the importance of the clock--as opposed to the geographical and spiritual grounding of indigenous cultures--in defining our communities, societies, and economies. The book will be a welcome addition to anyone seeking, as Jackson urged, to "read the landscape" in order to understand our everyday world in new and enlightened ways.

Distributed for George F. Thompson Publishing


At last a tribute worthy of the man—J. B. Jackson, landscape scholar, historian, and moralist, whose virtue as an author and human being is hard tyo capture. That Drawn to the Landscape so brilliantly succeeds owes much to its perceptive authors, and, above all, to the dedication of the editors and publisher.

Yi-Fu tuan, American Academy of Arts and Sciences and British Academy of Arts and Sciences, and author of The Last launch: Messages in the Bottle and Humanist Geography: An Individual's Search for Meaning

J. B. Jackson took a good word—landscape—and made it better. In many ways, he returned landscape to its Dutch roots: more than a view, it is a place shaped through the interaction of nature and culture. And, as Drawn to Landscape illustrates, Jackson read and interpreted landscapes with a special set of eyes. A master essayist, Jackson also possessed a great acumen in drawing, painting, and photographing the landscapes of everyday life, which this book's many illustrations display. The raw beauty of Jackson's drawings and watercolors and the clarity of his photographs complement and enhance his prescient prose. Drawn to Landscape is a wonderful book that makes a really significant contribution, presenting firsthand insights into Jackson's multifaceted, revelatory work.

Frederick R. Steiner, Dean, School of Architecture at the University of Texas, Austin, and author of Human Ecology: Following Nature's Lead and The Living Landscape: An Ecological Approach to Landscape Planning

Drawn to Landscape is a superb tribute to a man who has profoundly affected thinking in a range of disciplines. Brinck Jackson's stunning and powerful sketches and his broad scope of documentation with color slides are vividly portrayed as a telling embodiment of an unusually acute and innovative mind. These images and those he produced for Landscape magazine are given a revealing context by a group of distinguished scholars. The contents are engrossing for those of us fortunate enough to have known Jackson and for anyone with a serious interest in the shaping of the environment. Drawn to Landscape is essential reading.

Richard Longstreth, Professor of American Studies, George Washington University, and the author of Road Trip: Roadside America, from Custard's Last Stand to the Wigwam Restaurant and Looking beyond the Icons: Midcentury Architecture, Landscape, and Urbanism

Drawn to Landscape is a beautifully conceived and executed volume....The heart of the book holds three full-color portfolios: drawings, covers of Landscape magazine, and photographs from Jackson’s enormous archive of teaching slides....Several of the essays were written by people who had long acquaintance with Jackson, and their intimacy with him enlarges and enriches our understanding of the contradictions and the accomplishments of the work as well as the person.

Landscape Architecture Magazine

About the Author(s): 

Filmmaker Janet Mendelsohn has made documentaries for the PBS science series NOVA as well the films Figure in a Landscape: Conversations with J. B. Jackson (with Claire Marino) and J. B. Jackson and the American Landscape. Chris Wilson is the J. B. Jackson Professor of Cultural Landscape Studies at the University of New Mexico. He is coeditor of Everyday America: Cultural Landscape Studies after J. B. Jackson and the lead author and editor of The Plazas of New Mexico.

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