Lighthouses of America by Tom Beard

 Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Lighthouses of America is a splendid and diverse pictorial collection of the American “castles” guarding our coasts.  In addition to nearly 150 breathtaking photographs, Tom Beard (Editor-in-Chief) and Tom Thompson (Graphics Editor), in conjunction with the United States Lighthouse Society, accomplished a masterful job compiling a treasure trove of historical and often humorous tidbits.  The book educates and delights the reader and leaves him/her hungry to discover more.

Lighthouse construction was the first public-works project of our new nation.  These guardians of the coast were essential for our fledgling shipping industry, making our ports safer for commerce.  Many are still in operation today, serving to guide vessels to safety and to warn of danger.   Many are shrouded in mysterious and romantic legends.  Many have been destroyed or damaged by nature or war.  Some have been rebuilt on the same location, some have been moved, and some have been left to the elements.

The Preface by Wayne Wheeler (Founder and President of the Board of Directors, US Lighthouse Society) and The Forward by Captain Robert Dash, US Coast Guard (Retired) provide useful and detailed information on the organizational, architectural, and technological journey lighthouses have taken through their 300-year existence on our shores.

The book is divided into five geographic regions:  New England, Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic and Gulf Coast, Great Lakes, and West Coast.  Information is provided on Fresnel lenses, which in the 1840s greatly improved the structures’ light magnification—saving even more souls and cargo.  These days, many lighthouses are powered by solar panels and use light-emitting diodes.

Lighthouses of America is fascinating and would be a welcome addition to any library or coffee table.  The book teases the reader to seek these treasures out and visit first-hand.  It is the perfect gift for those who love the sea and all things nautical, and even for those who will just want to appreciate their unique history and beauty.

MWSA Review by Sandi Cowper (Feb 2018)

Author's Synopsis
Through gorgeous photography, this spectacular collection of America's most iconic and stunning lighthouses celebrates these unique and magnificent beacons and their history. The construction of lighthouses began as this new nation's first public-works project in 1789 and established the United States as a maritime world power by making ports safe for navigation. Early lights shined from reflectors bouncing the flickering flames from multiple lard-burning lanterns. Towers boosting the lights high, making them visible over the horizon to sailors, came in hundreds of architectural designs and construction materials. Then, in the early 1800s, came the amazing Fresnel lenses, first boosting light from the oil flame and later by electric lamp Today, LED science has become the light for navigational aids in this country. From Maine's West Quoddy Head to North Carolina's iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Alaska's Eldred Rock to Southern California's Fort Point Lighthouse, and Michigan's Holland Harbor, these structures--many still active and serving their original purpose--are living museums and popular tourist destinations.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-59962-140-1
Book Format(s): Hard cover
Genre(s): History
Review Genre: Artistic—Pictorial
Number of Pages: 176