Thursday, March 12, 2009

Buying a copy

American Colossus can be ordered through Search for item number 6054599 or the phrase "grain elevator" and scroll down. It will not be available through Amazon, etc. for another month or so, which is a fact that might actually please some of our readers and not displease them, as might be expected: unlike Lulu, which publishes copies of the book on demand for a modest fee (plus production costs), Amazon will distribute copies of it for an exorbitant fee. Indeed, I will make more money per sale with Lulu than with Amazon, even though Amazon's reach is global. (So there is no mystery: each book costs approximately $13 to produce.)

Anyway, when you reach Lulu's page devoted to American Colossus, you will find a short preview of the book's content: the front cover; the frontispiece (an illustration of the Watson Elevator in Buffalo circa 1885 that makes the elevator look dark and menacing); a pair of epigraphs concerning America as "Colossus" that set the stage for the book's subsequent shifts between light and dark tones; the table of contents; the short preface by Marshall Brown (no relation), who is a designer and architect employed by the Illinois Institute of Technology; and the backcover, which carries blurbs about the book and its author.

In future blog posts, I will upload the book's introduction and illustrations, and any other items that might spark our readers' imaginations, if not convince them to buy a copy of the Colossus, as well.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Welcome to "American Colossus"

American Colossus: The Grain Elevator, 1843 to 1943 has just been published by Colossal Books. Though its author, William J. Brown, intended this 476-page-long book to be encyclopedic, American Colossus inevitably contains omissions. On this blog, WJB will correct these omissions as they are discovered or pointed out. He will also post materials that he hopes will be relevant to his readers, whom he encourages to post the results of their own research into the fascinating subject of grain elevators.