Throughout the ages, mankind has been fascinated by the ruins of previous societies. The desire to gain a greater understanding of our past has driven archaeologists, artists, and scholars from across the world to study the vestiges of lifestyles that have vanished in an attempt to capture their mystique and beauty.Originally intended as an examination of the rise and fall of the state hospital system, Matthew Christopher's Abandoned America rapidly grew to encompass derelict factories and industrial sites, schools, churches, power plants, hospitals, prisons, military installations, hotels, resorts, homes, and more. Through his collection of writing and photography, Christopher has spent the last decade documenting the ruins of one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever known: our own. Exploring sites like the charred remains of the Hotel Do De, the rusted cells of the Essex County Jail Annex, the sublime majesty of the Church of the Transfiguration, or the eerie and dilapidated remnants of the New Castle Elks Lodge, the work spans architectural treasures left to the elements and then all too often lost forever.Matthew Christopher's body of work is a powerful statement about job loss, cultural legacy, urban blight, the artistic/architectural context of iconic buildings, and historic preservation. In light of the collapse of American industry and the subsequent economic meltdown, the relevance of these topics has never been more important to an examination of America's national identity.