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By Laurie Olin

"Twenty-eight years in the past I went to England for a three-month stopover at and relaxation. What i discovered replaced my life."

So starts off this memoir by way of one among America's best-known panorama architects, Laurie Olin. Raised in a frontier city in Alaska, informed in Seattle and long island, Olin came across himself disappointed along with his activity as an city architect and authorised a call for participation to England to take a respite from paintings. What he came upon, in abundance, was once the serendipity of a human atmosphere outfitted over the years to answer the land's personal personality and to the folks who lived and labored there. For Olin, the English nation-state was once a palimpsest of the main eloquent and relocating style, but whose manifestation was once of standard constructions intended to look after their population and extra their work.

With evocative language and beautiful line drawings, the writer takes us again to his advent to the scenes of English state cities, their historic universities, meandering waterways, and dramatic cloudscapes racing in from the Atlantic. He limns the geologic histories came upon in the rock, the near-forgotten histories of place-names, and the new histories of teach traces and automobile routes. evaluating the expansion of establishing within the English geographical region, Olin attracts a few sobering conclusions approximately our smooth way of life and its expanding separation from the landscape.

As a lot a plea for saving the trendy American panorama because it is a passionate exploration of what makes the English panorama so normally English, Across the Open Field is "an affectionate ramble via genuine locations of lasting worth."

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B-eyond are the bay windows of what once was a draper's shop, now converted to the village shop, post office, and grocer's. Next is one of two former greengrocer's shops, recently the home of a retired general. To its right is a gate from which a path leads across fields toward the Oxford Road and Pusey. Further to the right and behind a fence is a Methodist chapel and elementary school. In the foreground is the malt house of the brewery. ways are superior, but rarely have I come face to face with a place that so engaged my interest and curiosity.

It was in the winter of 1962 that I realized I no longer believed in what I came to call the "football theory of art:' This is the familiar survey history of art with its implicit linear progression and Hegelian undercurrent wherein, in my caricature, cave men kicked off, it was caught by Greeks, advanced by Romans, brought out to the fifty-yard line by Renaissance Italians, further progressed with a little loss of ground by the French in the seventeenth, recovery by the English in the eighteenth, and a remarkable rally by Paris in the nineteenth century, with it (this fabulous and progressive thing, Art and its history) being brought to the goal line by impressionists and postimpressionists, and finally Pollock (or Warhol, De Kooning) going in from the two!

I had come to love the gardens of the Restoration and Georgian England, but I didn't think their value lay in their innovation (which I had come to doubt) but rather in their content and how well done they were, how marvelously designers from Isaac de Caus and John Evelyn to Kent and Brown had adapted and reused material ofltalian parks and vigne to their own purposes. I resolved that the lesson wasn't so much that one need be original as good, that the reuse of preexisting material in fresh ways was the common denominator of one after another of the people I wished to emulate- from Palladia and Inigo Jones to Richard Woods and Harold Peto.

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