Aaron Douglas

Travel books: New York's storytelling murals

Travel books: New York's storytelling murals

"Murals of New York City: The Best of New York's Public Paintings from Bemelmans to Parrish"

(Rizzoli, $45)

"In their purest form, murals have the ability to tell stories," writes Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair. But as he also points out, there are plenty of stories behind each mural. And so this beautiful book combines gorgeous photography with the informative text of Glenn Palmer-Smith. Indeed, the stories behind the murals offer a mini-history of 20th-century American art.

The images are as lovely and impressive as anything this side of the Sistine Chapel. The book begins with the magnificent murals inside the New...