It was interesting and exciting to see our book, Historic Preservation: An Introduction to Its History, Principles and Practices, translated into Korean. The illustrations are familiar, but the narrative is incomprehensible, so we are not sure how good the translation might be, but hope it is representative of the English version. In any case, we are pleased to see it being used in another culture.
On March 29th I was asked by Kempf House Museum in Ann Arbor to give a presentation based on my book, The Peace Corps, Sierra Leone, and Me. The book was based on a daily journal I kept for two years while serving as a Volunteer in a Rural Construction Program. The audience enjoyed hearing of my adventures fifty years ago in West Africa.
We were pleasantly surprised–almost shocked–to find out that the book Robert Ward and Norm wrote a few years ago, Planning and Community Development: A Guide for the 21st Century, had just been translated into Chinese. Obviously the publisher, W. W. Norton and Company, has enough confidence in sales to expand the market to the largest population in the world. We are excited to see how it goes, and what happens next. Maybe an updated edition will be needed.
Norm wants to share his excitement about his new book. For years he has had had a special interest in the history of transportation, both because he likes the study of history in general and because for many years he taught a Transportation Planning course at Eastern Michigan University. The new book currently has a working title of Crossing the Continent: Pioneers of Transcontinental Travel. This story is told through the perspectives of individuals significant in each era of transportation development. Some of the protaganists of this drama are familiar, but in unfamiliar roles—George Washington as a young surveyor trekking to new western territories. Some were entrepreneurs who were ruthless in their quest—Thomas Durant, as master schemer and scammer in charge of building the Union Pacific Railroad. Others were larger-than-life figures now largely forgotten—Carl G. Fisher, an eccentric businessman who instigated and prodded construction of the country’s first coast-to-coast highway as a way to sell more of his automobile headlamps. Other biographical sketches reveal inconceivable feats—Annie Kopchovsky, who in 1894 left her husband and two children for fifteen months to successfully ride a bicycle not only across the country, but around the world. The stories of these individuals and others are marvelous, intriguing, and sometimes unbelievable. A reflection on these individuals and their roles in “Crossing the Continent” provides the focus for this history of American daring and determination during the historical, and historic, evolution of systems of transportation.
Norm is now looking for an agent and a publisher. Stay tuned and you will be the first to know when the manuscript has become a published book.
We are also excited to have been asked by the publisher of our book, Historic Preservation, to update it for a 3rd edition. Written by Norm and Ilene and Ted Ligibel, it remains one of the bestselling books on the topic. For this edition, Ilene has agreed to lead the editorial effort.
On September 13th , Norm and I participated in this year’s Kerrytown Bookfest. We had copies of all of our books, plus a few surprises. Since it was also my birthday, this was a “novel” way to celebrate our diverse writing projects .
Norman Tyler is author of books on city planning, historic preservation, the history of transportation, Greek Revival architecture, and the Peace Corps. He has given many presentations of these topics at national, state, and local conferences and meetings, and is proud two of his books have been translated—into Chinese and Korean. Norman is a nationally recognized professor (emeritus) of urban planning currently living with his spouse, Ilene, in a historic house in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has served on the board of numerous community and professional organizations, and has long been a community activist who ardently cares about making a difference.