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20 of 20 found the following review helpful:
Eric Sloane-The Master Illustrator of Rural AmericaOct 08, 2005
By Marco Antonio Abarca
When Eric Sloane wrote this book in the 1950's, the United States had already made the transition from being an agricultural nation into an industrial society. Fortunately, there were still plenty of examples of America's rural past scattered along the backroads and other forgotten areas of the nation's countryside. Sloane spent many years, seeking out these historic relics so that he could study and sketch them. The result is whole series of books that chronicle America's historic material culture. This book focuses on barns.
What makes an Eric Sloane book so unforgetable are the black and white sketches. If you are a visual learner who believes a good drawing is worth a thousand words, Eric Sloane is the author for you. By no means is this an academic study of the different barn styles that existed in the United States. Instead this book is a collection of beautiful drawings that can help the reader understand how barns were built and what they were used for. This is a magical book. If you like it, you will have many hours of pleasure seeking out and reading Eric Sloane's other books. Highly recommended. A great value.
18 of 18 found the following review helpful:
Close, but I'm not sure Mr. Sloane would be pleased.Dec 16, 2009
By M. Heasley
Alas, printed in China and missing the wonderful color plate illustrations found in the original edition.
7 of 7 found the following review helpful:
I have a barnSep 25, 2006
By S. E. Peters
and I understand that barn so much better now that I have read this book. Sloane gives a brief overview of the history of barns, regional types of barns, and even the tools to raise a barn. A lovely book.
11 of 13 found the following review helpful:
Superb history and nostalgiaJan 28, 2008
By GENE GERUE
"Author, Find Your Ideal Country Home"
Eric Sloane is known to many of us who love traditional country things as the superb and prolific American artist and author who gave us books with good words and even better drawings. Sloane was an accidental historian of that era of American life when agriculture was king. I cherish my copies of his A Museum of Early American Tools and A Reverence For Wood.
The Age of Barns was first published in 1967. I saw this 2001 version lying on a table in a friend's house and begged to borrow it. The sub-title is An Illustrated Review of Classic Barn Styles and Construction. It is more than that as it also shows silos, root cellars, springhouses, sugarhouses, corn cribs and smoke houses. Also shown are tools of barn builders, construction methods, types of ventilation systems and even hinge design.
Sloane shows the evolution of this most important structure with examples large and small and from many places. Medieval, English, German, American barns. Small and large log barns. The Appalachian overhung-loft barn built on two cribs, decorated Pennsylvania barns, a Georgia barn, a Maine barn, a Tennessee saltbox barn. Pent roofs, gambrel roofs, extended bays, threshing bays. Connecting barns, built so the farmer could do a winter day's chores without going outside.
I have known two barns intimately. The barn on our Wisconsin farm was a classic two-story bank barn built of stone on the lower level with hand-hewn posts and beams above, a cupola topping it off. The farmer whose death allowed my parents to buy the farm had been an alfalfa producer so the barn had huge mows that were filled both from the outside using a hay hook and from the inside where teams and wagons were taken straight in and through. The dairy herd was housed in the lower section next to the sixteen-foot silo. I pulled a lot of, um, teats in that barn.
The humble hillbilly barn at Heartwood in Missouri has two sections separated by a drive-through. In barns this design is called double-crib; in houses it is called a dog-trot. The construction is of hewn oak logs with half-dovetail corners. The logs are held off the ground only with loose stones, so early deterioration was inevitable. When the barn was still in pretty good shape we took a family photo one Fourth of July. My cousin and I hung the huge American flag that was hand-sewn by a grandmother for Lincoln's inauguration and we all posed in front of it on the ground.
Born in 1905, Eric Sloane died in 1985, walking to a luncheon in his honor celebrating his memoir, Eighty: An American Souvenir. His fine books will live on long after him, a legacy of focus and craftsmanship.
6 of 6 found the following review helpful:
A loving eye for detailApr 25, 2007
By James Ferguson
Sloane's books capture the romanticism of the past better than any picture books, and that is certainly true for his An Age of Barns. The beautiful line drawings range from evocative perspectives to working sections, giving you a good idea of how these barns worked. There are Shaker round barns, traditional gambrel barns, Amish barn raisings and a wide variety of outbuildings associated with the early American farmstead. He lovingly focuses on hinge details, stairs and ventilation openings. Sloane's eye never missed a detail, and for anyone who loves old barns this is the book to get.
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