Flight Maps charts the ways in which Americans have historically made-and missed-connections with nature. Rather than lighting out for the wild places, Price examines the ways in which we have brought nature into our homes and suburban communities. What place does nature occupy in our hearts and minds? To answer that deceptively simple question, Price sifts through "landscapes" and artifacts as diverse as eighteenth-century cookbooks, dinner menus, the Mall of America, and John Waters movies. He ruminates on everything from the extreme popularity of The Nature Company and "Northern Exposure" to the plastic pink flamingo, simultaneously the totem of artifice and kitsch and a potent symbol of our problematic vision of nature.
As awkwardly rooted in the nation's social consciousness as it is in a suburban front yard, the plastic pink flamingo represents the American ability to make nature seem, well, unnatural. These whimsically intellectual essays investigate modern America's complex relationship with nature, from the extinction of the passenger pigeon to the profusion of those pink flamingos.