Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
Knopf contact: Jill Morrison (212) 572-2091

November 18, 1997

Eyes of the Nation Published

A Visual History of the United States On the 100th anniversary of the Special Collections in the Library of Congress, Alfred A. Knopf recently has published a lavishly illustrated book co-authored by picture researcher Vincent Virga and the curators of the Library of Congress, with historical commentary by Alan Brinkley.

Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States is a main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and the History Book Club. It is available in retail stores for $75 (0-679- 44330-4), including the Library of Congress Sales Shop.

Through more than 500 images selected from the largest library in the world, the book depicts a visual chronicle of America, from the first encounter with Europeans, through Colonial days and the founding of the nation, to Western expansion and industrialization, up to the present. "The United States continues to be the hope of liberty throughout the world," writes Librarian of Congress James H. Billington in the preface "Eyes of the Nation shows how this has come to pass."

Appearing along with images such as an Indian treaty from 1714, a wanted poster for John Wilkes Booth, or a naval dispatch from 1941 announcing the air raid on Pearl Harbor are fascinating examples of popular culture and social history: an 18-pence note from 1776, the first telegraphic tape, a 1915 ad for the Pierce-Arrow automobile, or a Pogo comic strip satirizing Joseph McCarthy. Renowned American artists from every era also are represented, from John James Audubon and Mathew Brady to Mary Cassatt and Winslow Homer, from Frank Lloyd Wright, Edward Hopper, and Dorothea Lange to Robert Rauschenberg. Full, detailed captions accompany the images, and album-like sections explore four major themes of the American experience: the garden, the river, the city, and the people.

"To most of America, Eyes of the Nation will be a revelation," writes Vincent Virga. "It will not only change the way people perceive the Library of Congress, it will also alter the way they think of history. It will open the nation's eyes to the treasures held in trust that they, the American people, own in the Library of Congress, and the enchanting story of a great experiment that became America." Included with the book is a bonus offer to purchase a CD-ROM for $19.95 that contains not only the book, but also further historical information, specially created multimedia exhibitions by Library of Congress curators, and a detailed overview of related on-line collections.

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PR 97-199
ISSN 0731-3527

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