Very well-written and researched. I really enjoyed reading this, though it took me awhile. These 19th century gentlemen certainly had fascinating lives. They just decided, "Well, I guess I'll learn some engineering," or "I guess I'll be an architect." And then they did, no four year degree required.
Olmstead was a fascinating character, and the other fascinating character in the book was, as the title suggests, America in the 19th century. I frankly could have used more of 19th century America, which seems like a wonderful premise. This strange and fertile moment in our history, in which everything seems possible, is just how Olmstead's life feels in this book.
Now, it's a bit dry in the writing. But I could forgive that for the richness of the topic.
Recommended if you like American history, or the history of landscape architecture.