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Are We There Yet?: The Golden Age of American Family Vacations
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Are We There Yet?: The Golden Age of American Family Vacations

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  53 ratings  ·  13 reviews
When TV celebrity Dinah Shore sang "See the USA in your Chevrolet," 1950s America took her to heart. Every summer, parents piled the kids in the back seat, threw the luggage in the trunk, and took to the open highway. Chronicling this innately American ritual, Susan Rugh presents a cultural history of the American middle-class family vacation from 1945 to 1973, tracing its ...more
Hardcover, 252 pages
Published June 12th 2008 by University Press of Kansas
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Mar 19, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: x2019-20-season
A good premise but a terrible execution. Considering how many people vacation ocean-side the non-existence of such vacations here -even a mere sentence explaining that that option is being ignored - glares. The author confuses the timeline and conflates cause and effect when discussing the popularity of Yellowstone and the creation of Yogi Bear. Far to many anecdotes from biased sources and related and presented as proof. Far to much pop-psych jargon is littered through every chapter, seemingly ...more
Ken Dowell
Nov 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
The author introduces the book by describing how she and her sisters sat in the back of the family camper as they headed west toward Yellowstone. Apparently the girls weren’t that keen on having their card game interrupted to catch a glimpse of the Tetons. While she was headed west I was headed south at the time. My dad tried to keep my sister and I occupied in the back seat by plugging a TV into the cigarette lighter. If you grew up in the 50’s or 60’s you’ll find a lot of this pretty nostalgic ...more
This is a very good book looking at a specific time in American history: the family vacation from about the post-World War II era to about the 1970s. This was the era when families loaded up the family station wagon and went out on road trips to see the United States. It is a time that is idealized by many Baby Boomers, but their children probably differ when it comes to that idealization. It is a time that some see with nostalgia and others are glad it is over. But whether you loved or hate the ...more
Donald Shank
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was born in 1955, and every summer when I was growing up we would always pack up the station wagon and the trailer and set out to explore the American West. Sometimes it was the ocean beaches or Cascade mountains nearby, but every other summer we'd take a major road trip to the Rockies, to California, to the desert Southwest. This book brought back so many memories...roadside tourist traps, National Parks, crowds in some places, solitude in others. We avoided the worst aspects of Industrial To ...more
Karen Mosley
Mar 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
"Spending money on a family vacation was a consumer choice, a way to buy experiences to promote family togetherness." pg. 5 This book reads like a master's project--opening paragraph, state thesis; middle paragraphs, support thesis; ending paragraph, restate thesis. I felt like I had read every point at least three times. Very factual and of some historical interest, the book had few 'entertaining' qualities. I had not before realized how "left out" blacks and Jews were when they were refused ac ...more
Kathleen Huben
Jun 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
Are We There Yet? gives a historian's view of the "golden age" of family vacations and roadtrips. If you grew up in this era (1950's - 1960's) it's bound to awaken some nostalgic (and maybe not so nostalgic) memories. Written in an easy to read style, the book contains lots of anecdotes of family vacations as well as interesting discussions of the impact of anti-Semitism and racism on family travel. ...more
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Yes, this read like the author's masters or doctorate research. As an adult looking back on my family vacations, I found it very interesting. This books talks about family vacations leading up to and including the time I was growing up, 1960's - mid 70's. The vacations, camping, road trips and visits to family formed the person I am today, someone who always wants to "go someplace". ...more
Aug 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
i loved this book! it covers family road trips in its golden age: the 1950s - 1960s. it was a great book on tourism, and how it evolved with how american society was changing. it would have been nice if she branched out more than from her personal experience as a kid (types of places to go and what not). but every person has a bias towards their own experience.
Apr 27, 2011 rated it liked it
A fairly interesting, well-researched read on what I thought was one of the most mundane topics one could possibly cover: the family vacation. I especially appreciated how Rugh exposed the difficulties African-Americans faced trying to travel during the Jim Crow era and how they and Jews created their own separate vacation networks to deal with the discrimination in larger society.
Jul 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
While not a bad book, I would prefer that it be written ina more approachable way. A little too dry.
Apr 22, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a good book about an interesting subject, and the author covers the terrain well (in a station wagon with kids fighting in the back seat, of course).
Tom Mueller
Oct 31, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a fun expose on American Road Trips; Family Vacation style. Some areas of the Country are covered in detail.
Feb 22, 2010 marked it as to-read
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Susan Sessions Rugh is associate professor of history at Brigham Young University and author of Our Common Country: Family Farming, Culture, and Community in the Nineteenth-Century Midwest.

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“The family vacation taught them about about their country, how to be citizens, how to explore the unknown. Family travel was for some a life changing experience that directed them toward a new place to live or towards a life's vocation. Whether you remember the sights you saw or the fights in the back seat, the family vacation is not forgotten.” 0 likes
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