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Working At Play: A History Of Vacations In The United States
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Working At Play: A History Of Vacations In The United States

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  50 ratings  ·  8 reviews
No one works harder at playing than Americans. Indeed, as Cindy Aron reveals in this intriguing account, the American vacation has seen a constant tension between labor and leisure, especially in the 19th and early 20th century, when we often struggled to protect ourselves from the sin of idleness.
In Working at Play, Aron offers the first full length history of how Americ
Published May 13th 1999 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 1989)
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Laura Bang
Jun 01, 2016 rated it liked it
An interesting (although at times a bit dense and repetitive) look at the history of vacations in America. Aron focuses mainly on the 19th century and early 20th century (up until the 1940s). Prior to the 19th century, only the wealthy could afford the time and expense of traveling for leisure, but the growth of the middle class, improvements in travel infrastructure, and the beginning of paid leave made vacations accessible to more people. Throughout the book, Aron pays particular attention to ...more
Jan 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Again, this book was a major resource for me when I was writing my undergraduate thesis paper. Incredibly interesting research and analysis of vacationing in the US and how the concept of a vacation evolved into a middle-class staple in life.
Ken Dowell
Oct 14, 2014 rated it liked it
The author describes the history of vacations in America from roughly 1800 to 1940. That time period starts as the idea of vacation first makes an appearance and ends at the point when most Americans expect to spend some time vacationing. Arum traces the socio-economic history of vacations, starting with the nation’s elite and gradually finding its way to all classes and all types of people. She also follows the theme of how a nation of people whose forefathers subscribed to the Protestant ethi ...more
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
What an absurdly boring and poorly planned book. Was there no editor for this? Whose decision was it to stop before World War II and the 1950s? It's like the author planned a bigger, more expansive book but then got buried in information from before 1910 and gave up. It gets two stars because clearly someone cared, there's actual effort visible here. But I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. Probably around 75% of this book is either lists of activities of what people did (spoiler: exactly what p ...more
Dan White
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clear. Engaging. Well-written. Original. I appreciated the way Cindy Aron structured the book, focusing on different demographics and various vacation modes from "taking the waters" at early spas to heading out into the wilderness for a family vacation. Gives you a great sense of how the concept of vacations evolved over time.
Aug 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! As a history professor, it gives invaluable historical insight into a topic that is very relevant to my students- Vacations! It is well written and thoroughly sourced. Absolutely enjoyable!
Aron's book is an excellent introduction to vacation and tourism history. I usually approach the history of vacationing from an environmental history angle, and thus I found Aron's inclusion of class, race, gender, religious, etc. factors to be interesting and informative.
Katherine Decker
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting read on the history of vacations in the US. Pretty easy to read, not too heavy or wordy.
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