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See America First: Tourism and National Identity 1880-1940
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See America First: Tourism and National Identity 1880-1940

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  55 ratings  ·  9 reviews
In See America First, Marguerite Shaffer chronicles the birth of modern American tourism between 1880 and 1940, linking tourism to the simultaneous growth of national transportation systems, print media, a national market, and a middle class with money and time to spend on leisure. Focusing on the See America First slogan and idea employed at different times by railroads, ...more
Paperback, 438 pages
Published September 17th 2001 by Smithsonian Books
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Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
See America First is a worthwhile addition to American historical literature. Shaffer’s book aides in understanding America’s transformation to nationalism and unity after the Civil War and through both world wars. The book is well documented, using over 900 sources and acknowledgments. While there are a few areas of redundancy and repetition, especially in the last chapters as she discussed the personal accounts of tourists, Shaffer still effectively conveyed the idealism behind national touris ...more
Tyler Amick
Jun 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An intriguing perspective that upends traditional narratives about the history of national parks
Ken Dowell
Nov 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
A study of the role of nationalism in the growth of tourism in the United States. Or, stated another way, how tourism was marketed as an expression of nationalism. Covers the period of 1880-1940, with emphasis on the first couple decades of the 20th century. The title “See America First,” could perhaps be part of a longer phrase along the lines of: before you even think of going to Europe you should express your sense of citizenship and see America first. For many of the travelers who are the su ...more
This book did a fantastic job at showing how Americans learned how to travel and start the building blocks that lead to tourism today. Parts of it really made me want to get in the car and go visit some of the places it talked about that I'd not been to before. It really hits home how tourism fuels in to how we tell the story of ourselves and how history becomes heritage. I was surprised at how it tackled what it means to be a tourist and how it acknowledged how much of a two way street this is. ...more
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: academic
This is an interesting and insightful examination of nationalistic tourism in America, from 1880 - 1940, with emphasis on the first decades of the 20th century. Shaffer explores the ways in which transportation systems, commercialism and corporate consolidation, politics, and identity influenced American tourism, with a focus on the landscapes of the west and the symbolic values this landscape represented.
Apr 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful look at how tourism came to be part of American culture. In particular, how we came to have a "cannon" of sites to see (much like a tour of France seeing the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Versailles, Notre Dame, etc). This tells of how the national parks came to be a significant part of American tourism and how the railroad and automobile revolutionized the way Americans thought about their nation, their landscape, and the importance of place and memory. Loved it! ...more
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
An informative examination of the history of American tourism. It covers the creation of the national parks as part of the larger movement. At times it went on too long and is redundant in several places. Yet, a valuable addition to the cultural history of the country.
Feb 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-for-class
I simply could not get into this book. the only reason I finished it is because I had to read it for class.
Sue Dufour
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
It was okay, had to read it for class!
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