One of our books, Greek Revival in America: Tracing its architectural roots to ancient Athens, has received primarily 5-star reviews on Amazon. The following review by an unnamed reader describes our quest to unravel the mysteries inherent in our historic home through the narrative of our travel to England and Greece. The story of our odyssey includes many serendipitously unplanned discoveries. Available online, we feel this book would be a fine gift for someone who could vicariously appreciate the joys and drama of historic travel during this year’s stay-at-home holiday season.
The review reads:
“While Norm and Ilene Tyler’s “Greek Revival in America” may sound like a book that would appeal by title to architects and students of architecture only, the adventure this couple embarks on in their quest to uncover the architectural history of their beautiful, old house in Ann Arbor makes for a great and entertaining read for all. The book opens with what seems like an improbable tale concerning one of the 20+ foot columns that takes an unexpected tumble across the front lawn of their grand historic home (original structure built circa 1830’s). This incident sparks a unique gum-shoe trail for Ilene and Norm as they research and uncover stories about the home’s original owner (Judge Robert Wilson), subsequent home-owners (some characters are quite colorful) – and mainly – why this stately home was built in replication of a Greek temple in a former Midwestern frontier town in the first place. Ilene and Norm are not long for insignificant details that detract from their pursuit of the origin of those grand columns in front of their dream home. The reader continues to be drawn by their folksy narrative and well-documented travel-research that takes sometimes Norm and mostly both authors to New York State, England, and finally Athens, Greece. Ilene and Norm provide unique insight to the architectural uninitiated about why we should care about their passion for the old house. (For one we learn that Teddy Kennedy made a speech in their parlor during his presidential run). Historic facts aside, we ultimately care because Ilene and Norm are able to weave an intriguing story that includes a little mystery, fun, adventure and fact-finding. Not boring textbook “facts,” but unearthed stories that lead Ilene and Norm — and this reader – on a deeper mission involving adventure, overcoming obstacles and uncovering hidden historic landmarks. After finishing the book one mystery however still remains: how did Ilene and Norm – as husband and wife – manage to write such an entertaining book together – and yet remain professional partners and friends? That question is also part of the endearing appeal of a story that is perhaps best described as a travel-log adventure with a historic twist. Don’t be fooled: “Greek Revival in America” is far from a text book. Highly recommended reading for anyone interested in history, art, community, travel, and relationships!”
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