Veniceland Atlantis – Endorsement – George Baird
"Robert France’s Veniceland Atlantis is an extraordinarily comprehensive account of the multiple, and dire current circumstances of the “world’s favourite city”. A remarkable achievement from which I learned a great deal. Overall, a fine book."
—George Baird is the former Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto, former Chair of the Department of Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, winner of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada’s 2010 Gold Medal, and author of The Space of Appearance.
Veniceland Atlantis – Endorsement – Jeff Cotton
"To attempt a comprehensive and comprehensible review of the social and environmental catastrophes facing Venice would be enough of a challenge, one would think. To do so whilst also weaving the city's cultural and fictional fabric through the facts and figures would seem to be both admirably and foolishly ambitious. But in this book Robert France pulls this elegantly off. The facts and futures are presented in a winningly understandable and nontechnical way, guaranteed to enlighten and depress in equal measure. Things really aren't looking good for Venice, and the way that this fact plays up to the city's image as a place of post-hubris decline and slow death is covered here too. The book manages to be true to the facts and the spirit of Venice, is what I'm trying to say.
Being an optimist, I tend to try to block out a lot of the issues dealt with in this book, but to do so is to live in a fantasy world (which for me might be excusable given that I am the creator of a website about the fiction of Venice). However, the reality is that the scary facts are presented in this book in a serious, but not despairing way. Rising water levels, erosion caused by speeding boats, pollution, pigeons, over-visiting by tourists, governmental apathy and lassitude - this is stuff all serious Venetophiles need to know about and this book is a one-stop source for getting up to speed on the problems and possible solutions.
There's a website too which, amongst other things, has colour versions of the black-and-white photos contained in the book. I don't know if the decision to go with monochrome in the book was freely made or forced by financial considerations but it doesn't detract and chimes well with the book's serious, non-coffee-table, nature. A new necessary purchase for all good Venice bookshelves."
—Jeff Cotton, creator and compiler of the best source of information about the fiction and films of Venice
(in addition to Florence and London): www.fictionalcities.co.uk
Jeff Cotton is thanked for suppling these photos (obtained from someone he refers to as "a mysterious spy") of the possible arm missing from the statue atop San Giorgio Maggiore on the cover of the book. The photos were accompanied by the following tantalizing information of the arm's present location: "in a room down a dusty corridor, inhabited only by rats and the ghosts..."