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Going Out: The Rise and Fall of Public Amusements
     

Going Out: The Rise and Fall of Public Amusements

by David Nasaw
 

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An evocative account of the rise and fall of urban mass amusements. Nasaw argues that at the turn of the century, as "going out" became a part of everyday life in American cities, a middle-class cosmopolitan culture emerged and class, ethnic, and religious barriers dissolved.

Overview

An evocative account of the rise and fall of urban mass amusements. Nasaw argues that at the turn of the century, as "going out" became a part of everyday life in American cities, a middle-class cosmopolitan culture emerged and class, ethnic, and religious barriers dissolved.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A professor of history at the City University of New York, Nasaw here presents an involving, well-crafted history of popular entertainments in the U.S. over the past two centuries, concentrating not only on the amusement businesses themselves, but also on their sociological effects. In examining 19th-century American ``museums'' (often simply sideshows), vaudeville, amusement parks, World's Fair midways, baseball parks, phonograph parlors, nickelodeons and cinema palaces, he focuses on the ``sense of civic sociability they nourished and sustained'' in our cities until the advent of television and the growing perception of the danger of urban centers contributed to their decline. Conscious of racism, Nasaw examines the vital role these amusements played in integrating white immigrants into American society while demeaning African Americans and excluding them from this public sociability. Photos not seen by PW . (Nov.)
Library Journal
Historian Nasaw chronicles the rise of amusement parks, vaudeville, world's fairs, baseball games, movie houses, and other public amusements in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The origin of each amusement is sketched in a chapter or two, including in every instance a mention of how ethnic and class barriers were affected and how blacks were consistently excluded. The anecdotal style is engaging, but the narrative often only skims the surface. The chapter on baseball, for example, is a mere eight pages long. The last chapter, on the fall of public amusements, leaves one wondering if the decline was a consequence of racial integration and changing urban demographics or if in fact public amusements are as popular as ever, only in new forms. An optional purchase for history collections.-- Eric Hinsdale, Trinity Univ. Lib., San Antonio
Booknews
A study of the rise of public amusements in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and their decline and fall in the post-World War II decades. Nasaw (history & American studies, CUNY) looks at the social and economic contexts of phonograph and kinetoscope parlors; vaudeville halls and 10-20-30-cent melodrama theaters; world's fair midways; and amusement parks, ballparks, dance halls, and picture palaces. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
New York Times Book Review

David Nasaw's fine history of public amusements in urban America is such a welcome contribution to contemporary cultural debate...Nasaw unearths fascinating details about everything from the early history of the movies to pre-World War I dance crazes; and he raises fundamental questions about the web of connections joining commercial play, public space and cultural cohesion.
— Jackson Lears

The New Yorker
An effervescent social history.
The Nation

No other book brings together so much material about so many different urban entertainment forms—and connects their history with a few simple and powerful overarching themes.
— Warren Goldstein

New York Times Book Review - Jackson Lears
David Nasaw’s fine history of public amusements in urban America is such a welcome contribution to contemporary cultural debate… Nasaw unearths fascinating details about everything from the early history of the movies to pre–World War I dance crazes; and he raises fundamental questions about the web of connections joining commercial play, public space and cultural cohesion.
The Nation - Warren Goldstein
No other book brings together so much material about so many different urban entertainment forms—and connects their history with a few simple and powerful overarching themes.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465026548
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
12/28/1994
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.11(w) x 9.19(h) x 0.96(d)

Meet the Author

David Nasaw is Professor of History and American Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

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