Narratives regarding the built environment of the post–World War II United States often emphasize the effects of clearance and the repercussions of urban, or suburban, “renewal.” In Bulldozer: Demolition and Clearance of the Postwar Landscape, Francesca Russello Ammon directs our attention to the act of clearance itself, both in the United States and abroad, focusing on the companies that benefited from demolition, the writers and artists who depicted changes on the land, and the machines that carried out the process.

Ammon's protagonist in this story is the bulldozer: a powerful, relentless piece of motorized metal whose blades carved into untrammeled nature and plowed into existing urban landscapes,...

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