Alvin Rosenbaum’s New Book "The Muscle Shoals" Explores America’s First Frontier

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Historian redefines regionalism and cultural landscapes in a study of the first American frontier: The Muscle Shoals.

“The Muscle Shoals" is at once an adventure, a love story, and a documentary—an instant classic in American history, culture, and geography. Within the well-crafted narrative are lessons in place-making ready to apply across the United States. — Jeffrey Soule FAICP, American Planning Association

Whitman Publishing announces the release of "The Muscle Shoals: First Frontier of These United States," by regional planner Alvin Rosenbaum. The 400-page hardcover book will launch December 13, 2018, at a debut party in Florence, Alabama. It will then be available from booksellers nationwide and online (including at, for $29.95.

More than just a history book, "The Muscle Shoals" also explores ideas of regionalism and cultural landscapes. “In the United States,” Rosenbaum says, “each of us recognizes the particular qualities that make our place distinctive from all other places.” With this in mind, he offers a new way of thinking about where we live.

The book’s 36 chapters are organized into four main parts. “Drainage Is Destiny” outlines the concepts of “region” and “regionalism,” which are constant threads throughout the book. Several chapters explore the natural wonders of the Muscle Shoals, and the way the region enchanted settlers and of speculators, politicians, and assorted rascals in the early 1800s. “An American Commonwealth” looks at the Shoals region as it developed through the Jacksonian era, with the advent of the plantation economy, the steam engine, and other developments. “Democracy Reborn” follows the story into the Civil War, through Reconstruction, and into the 20th century. “Synthesis” emerges in the era of Giant Power and the Tennessee Valley Authority, then moves on to the Atomic Age and into the present day.

Rosenbaum weaves together natural and political history, conservation, the role of the citizen, and other important topics that will please and engage scholars and lay readers alike.

He draws upon a wealth of scholarly resources, local and regional archives, and the rich resources of the State of Alabama and its libraries and universities, as well as the National Archives, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Geological Survey, international universities and fine-art museums, and others. He also draws from his family’s history as early Shoals citizens who witnessed firsthand the ups and down of the region and the country at large in the 20th century.

Lavishly illustrated in color with more than 150 images, "The Muscle Shoals" is scrupulously documented and thoroughly indexed. It includes both a “List of Maps” and a “List of Shoals Notables” for quick reference.

The Muscle Shoals: First Frontier of these United States
By Alvin Rosenbaum
ISBN – 0794846947; EAN – 9780794846947
400 pages, 6x9 inches, hardcover; fully illustrated in color
Retail $29.95

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