Reviews - What do customers think about A Short History of Portland?
A long tourist pamphlet of Portland Aug 5, 2008
Granted, this is the first history of the city of Portland, ME that I've ever read, but I cannot say it was a terribly compelling case to read more.
The narrative of this book is straightforward and easy to understand, but incredibly bland and smacking of middle school textbook in tone. The information presented feels sometimes a bit disjointed; particularly in regard to personal profiles of famous Portlanders that have nothing to do with the main body of the work, or are introduced in chapters before or after they are referenced in the main text.
Having read the Boston book from this series, I am confident that this format is a good one for short urban profiles, but unfortunately, Levinsky missed his mark, and instead produced a rather long tourist pamphlet.
Great short history of a fine old town Apr 5, 2008
Allan Levinsky's "A Short History of Portland," at first glance, it is not something a reviewer might expect a great deal from, but in this case, it proves to be a pleasant surprise.
Levinsky's tour of the town from the 1600s to the present (or George Cleeve to Judd Asher Nelson) is both jaunty, upbeat and on target. Given the formulaic shape of the book - seven chapters (punctuated by biographical insets with faux signatures), a chronology, further readings, an index and back matter, Levinsky manages rather deftly. He has made interesting picture choices (some never published previously) and introduced key but long-forgotten individuals back into the public discussion.
Levinsky has read and absorbed a great deal of information on Portland, and clearly revels in it. He also understands it, providing not only a readable, short text but a helpful timeline.
This is a generally solid survey of Portland's history in small compass, which introduces even longtime observers to new things.