Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Lewis Mumford

A Life

by Donald Miller

‘serious and substantial. . . . The value of this biography is its painstaking and competent assemblage of sources that explain Mr. Mumford’s character and development.” –Ada Louise Huxtable, The New York Times Book Review

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 656
  • Publication Date November 22, 2002
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-3934-4
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $20.00

About The Book

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Donald Miller’s engagingly written biography reveals Lewis Mumford’s full and fascinating life. Born in New York in 1895, Mumford used the city itself as his “university.” A brilliant autodidact, he accumulated a vast breadth of knowledge that served as the basis for such books as Sticks and Stones, The City in History, and Technics and Civilization.

Malcolm Cowley called Mumford “the last of the great humanists,” and indeed, in more than six decades of writing, Mumford made contributions to history, philosophy, literature, art, architectural criticism, and urban planning. Miller penetrates Mumford’s reserved public persona and takes in the complete man, his works as well as his days, as he struggles to transform the world–and his own life–in decades marked by unparalleled change.

Praise

‘serious and substantial. . . . The value of this biography is its painstaking and competent assemblage of sources that explain Mr. Mumford’s character and development.” –Ada Louise Huxtable, The New York Times Book Review

“If the biographer’s tone is not idolatrous, it is admiring, and rightly so: the reader cannot help noticing how many of Mumford’s ideas remain alive, some as issues in contention, others so widely adopted that they are almost clich’s.” –The New Yorker

“Gracefully written. . . . A splendid recapitulation of Lewis Mumford’s passionate desire to save us from our own excesses. It is instructive reading for us all. For beleaguered planners and city officials it contains the seeds of deliverance.” –Francesca McKeon, San Francisco Chronicle

“In an age of specialists Mumford stands virtually alone as a generalist, an unfailingly provocative critic of urbanism, technology, and culture. This is a remarkable candid, informed account of a protean thinker.” –Justin Kaplan

“With this large, large-spirited life of Lewis Mumford, Donald L. Miller takes his place in the first rank of contemporary American biographers.

He writes with great insight and vitality, and clarifies in a way no one has both Mumford’s genius and his immense importance to all of us in understanding our extraordinary times and civilization.” –David McCullough

‘donald L. Miller, in Lewis Mumford: A Life, has done a stunning job of balancing Mumford the private man with Mumford the Humanist – literary critic, philosopher, and urbanist. Here is the American Renaissance in all its flowering. An elegant biography.” –Barbara Probst Solomon

‘miller neatly weaves together Mumford’s public career and his private life, making us feel, as every good biographer must, how utterly dependent each is upon each other.” –Paul Goldberger

“The America that shaped [Mumford] is gone. But to read his life as Donald Miller narrates it is to gain, for a few hours, that lost world back.” –Hugh Kenner, The Washington Times

‘miller neatly weaves together Mumford’s public career and his private life, making us a feel, as every good biographer must, how utterly dependent each is upon the other.” –Paul Goldberger, The Atlantic Monthly

‘miller expertly details Mumford’s public and private life in a portrait that reveals the full measure of both the man and the age in which he lived. In the process, he describes the career of one of the most successful ‘public historians’ of this century–an analyst and author who presented past events in a manner that not only reached a broad audience but also spoke to contemporary concerns and issues.” –Daniel Schaffer, The Public Historian

‘miller shows the mark of a true professional by not inserting himself between the reader and Mumford. We leave the book confident that we have a balanced and judicious account of this elusive and many-sided man.” –Thomas Hughes, Technology and Culture

‘donald Miller’s masterly new biography answers to Mumford’s manifold genius, for it is a biography with many delights and virtues, not the least of which are its clarity, force, and complexity.” –Charles Molesworth

“A sympathetic, carefully researched, intimate biography of one of this century’s most important American intellectuals. Mumford’s private life is discussed in detail, not for lurid effect, nor even merely to help us better understand one man’s moral and psychological struggles, but to illuminate some very fundamental conditions of life in our century.” –Robert A. M. Stern

Awards

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year