THE publication last year of Lewis Mumford’s twenty-fifth book, Findings and Keepings (“Analects for an Autobiography”),* coincided with his eightieth birthday and provides the occasion for a brief look at the work of a man of whom it is easy to say that he has had an immense influence on his time. The precise nature of that influence, however, is difficult to clarify. Mumford’s ideas have been effectual primarily in the fields of architecture and city and town planning, where he has attracted the most public attention. Yet despite having won gold medals from both the Royal Institute of British Architects and the British Town Planning Institute, he is neither architect nor planner. Nor, since he has never held governmental office, has he had the chance to impose his ideas on even a single city, as many other non-architects and non-planners have managed to do, Robert Moses and Edward Logue coming to mind at once.
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