From Modernism 101:
Originally conceived at the Composing Room by Dr. Robert Leslie and Aaron Burns, ABOUT U. S. was a series of experimental typographic inserts published in DER DRUCKSPIEGEL to showcase both the skills of the Composing Rooms' typesetters and the creative muscles of Americans BC+G, Lester Beall, Herb Lubalin, and Gene Federico. Spare sheets from DER DRUCKSPIEGEL were assembled in plain letterpressed wrappers for distribution to friends of the Composing Room.
From the AIGA:
"I wanted to try something where I used metal type in extreme ways without having to cut it—without cutting up proofs or playing with stats," explains Federico about this masterpiece of descriptive typography. "For some time, I had known that if you stacked Title Gothics they would have a different look than traditional types. So the whole book was based on that simple idea." But the aesthetics of type were not his only concern, as he says, "The message of the book was that nature’s beauty is being radically altered. There's a line that reads 'When we, in business, industrial America began to get smart about apples, we packaged them and packaged them and packaged them until the apple itself became a package.' I illustrated that point with a photograph of an apple with a string tied around it.