Review by Choice Review
Greenagel has produced an illustrated gazetteer to New Jersey's early places of worship. The three main chapters--each dedicated to one of the state's three regions, the Hudson River, the Delaware River, and the Raritan Valley--present 225 places of worship. Each entry includes a date of construction and a single exterior photograph. The accompanying text usually includes a few sentences on congregational history, significant additions, alterations, or renovations, and the occasional contextual comment. Unfortunately, the entries are too brief for the author to substantiate the construction date or his assertions about the building's significance. Furthermore, he rarely offers footnotes that might allow later scholars to build on his research, leaving the critical reader to wonder about his sources. The opening chapter surveys in very general terms the various factors that inform the design process. He gestures to denomination, materials, professional architects, style, and regionalism, among others, but he rarely uses buildings to make a compelling argument. In the end, the book's strength is its documentary photography; the text in The New Jersey Churchscape will satisfy only the general reader. L. P. Nelson University of Virignia
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.