The American Monument. Photographs by Lee Friedlander. Eakins Press, New York, 1976. 213 pp. Oblong folio. Limited edition of 2000 copies. Green cloth boards stamped in gilt and black. Post-and-screw binding (designed so that, theoretically, individual plates can be removed and displayed). No jacket as issued. 213 gravure plates.
In our opinion, probably the most important title in the Friedlander cannon. Writing in Roth, et. al., The Book of 101 Books, Vince Aletti describes The American Monument as "almost maniacally inclusive, rounding up everything from Plymouth Rock to a plaque commemorating the Pony Express in Salt Lake City and treating them with the same nonchalance. The doggedness of Friedlander's quest is at once astounding and hilarious...History stalks the landscape at every turn." A brilliant book, conceptually ambitious in the manner of the New Topographic school of Adams and Baltz, but with a deadpan wit that is Friedlander's own.
"In an environment dominated by menacing speed, instability, advertising and television, the American monument plays a meditative role. A grace of intention shines through the oft times awkward alliance of efforts that produced them. They are redeemed by the confidence they express in the worth of the act memorialized. In this album the viewer and the viewed hold each other in balance. A world buried alive in our midst is unearthed to us. The photographer has brought it to us to see."--the publisher