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December 9, 2008

Staff Picks: The Oxford Project

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 10:26 PM – Filed under: The Company

Every holiday season there's at least one big, beautiful book that has everyone buzzing. Two years ago it was the Annie Leibovitz book. Last year it was 100 Young Americans and the illustrated Life of Pi.
This fall, The Oxford Project captured the attention of booksellers across the country, and especially here in Milwaukee. Schwartz Bookshops, our sister company, campaigned for this book and is offering autographed copies via its web site, www.schwartzbooks.com. (Check out their entire selection of autographed books--they make great gifts.)
There's a great description of The Oxford Project on its web site:
In 1984, Peter Feldstein set out to photograph every resident of his town, Oxford, Iowa (pop. 676). Twenty years later, he did it again. But this time those same residents did more than pose. With extraordinary honesty, they shared their memories, fantasies, failures, secrets and fears with writer Stephen G. Bloom. The result is a riveting collection of personal stories and portraits that tell much more than the tale of one small Midwestern town. Because beneath Oxford's everyday surface, lives a complex and wondrous community that embodies the American spirit.
In the narrative tradition of Studs Terkel's Working and the photographic spirit of Mike Disfarmer's Heber Springs series, the Oxford Project is equal parts art, American history, cultural anthropology, and human narrative--at once personal and universal, surprising and predictable, simple and profound.
In a place like Oxford, where newcomers are recognized by the sound of an unfamiliar engine hum, not only does everyone know everyone else, but also everyone else's brothers, sisters, parents, lovers, dreams, downfalls, and favorite pot luck recipes. This intricate web of human connections among neighbors, friends, and family is the
mainstay of small-town American life, an ethos that is unforgettably captured here in Feldstein's candid black-and-white, time-lapse portraits and Bloom's astonishing confessional vignettes. Beautifully designed and illustrated with more than 300 black-and-white duotone images and 12 gatefolds.

Below we're posting a photo essay to give you a favor for the book. There's also a slide show available here.

Barbara Boyle


Cayenne Stoakes Hughes


Kevin Somerville


Melody Honn Hillier


Pat Henkelman


Tonya Stratton


The publisher of The Oxford Project, Welcome Books, has a wide selection of beautifully designed and packaged books, including these:
American Farmer: The Heart of Our Country by Katrina Fried (Editor) and Paul Mobley (Photographer)

Canyon Wilderness of the Southwest

China: 3,000 Years of Art and Literature by Jason Steuber (Editor)

New York Deco (Deluxe Edition)

and many more, available here: http://welcomebooks.com/

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.