on 12 December 2000
David Matless' masterpiece ensures that you'll never view your surroundings through the same eyes again. Looking at the way the landscape in this country has been perceived, designed and re-imagined, Matless takes a chronological journey from the turn of the century to the present day. Tracing the views of both governmental and marginal organisations, we soon learn how definitions of taste, fitness for purpose, and modernity fluctuate over time. According to Matless the two World Wars provide fulcrums for change - helping to construct new ideas about the landscape, and the buildings within it. The Second World War in particular is seen as a watershed, whereby modernity sprung from the need to eradicate the destruction caused by the Luftwaffe. Re-construction in its hideous form resulted. In more recent times, the voices influencing ideas about landscape have become ever more informal, as exemplified by the Kinks' "Village Green Preservation Society". Ultimately we see that throughout the Twentieth Century arguments have swayed one way and then the next, and at times come full circle. We also see that ideas of English Landscape have not always been entirely English. All in all, this is a wonderful read and the perfect book for anyone interested in cultural geography.