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The Playful Crowd By Gary Cross (Distinguished Professor of Modern History, Pennsylvania State University)

Summary

Explores playful crowds and the pursuit of pleasure in the twentieth century to offer a transatlantic perspective on changing ideas about leisure, class, and mass culture. This book examines the resorts' different fates as Coney Island has become a shadow of its former self while Blackpool continues to lure visitors and offer attractions.

The Playful Crowd Summary

The Playful Crowd: Pleasure Places in the Twentieth Century by Gary Cross (Distinguished Professor of Modern History, Pennsylvania State University)

During the first part of the twentieth century thousands of working-class New Yorkers flocked to Coney Island in search of a release from their workaday lives and the values of bourgeois society. On the other side of the Atlantic, British workers headed off to the beach resort of Blackpool for entertainment and relaxation. However, by the middle of the century, a new type of park began to emerge, providing well-ordered, squeaky-clean, and carefully orchestrated corporate entertainment. Contrasting the experiences of Coney Island and Blackpool with those of Disneyland and Beamish, Gary S. Cross and John K. Walton explore playful crowds and the pursuit of pleasure in the twentieth century to offer a transatlantic perspective on changing ideas about leisure, class, and mass culture. Blackpool and Coney Island were the definitive playgrounds of the industrial working class. Teeming crowds partook of a gritty vulgarity that offered a variety of pleasures and thrills from roller coaster rides and freak shows to dance halls and dioramas of exotic locales. Responding to the new money and mobility of the working class, the purveyors of Coney Island and Blackpool offered the playful crowd an industrial saturnalia.Cross and Walton capture the sights and sounds of Blackpool and Coney Island and consider how these Sodoms by the sea flouted the social and cultural status quo. The authors also examine the resorts' very different fates as Coney Island has now become a mere shadow of its former self while Blackpool continues to lure visitors and offer new attractions. The authors also explore the experiences offered at Disneyland and Beamish, a heritage park that celebrates Britain's industrial and social history. While both parks borrowed elements from their predecessors, they also adapted to the longings and concerns of postwar consumer culture. Appealing to middle-class families, Disney provided crowds a chance to indulge in child-like innocence and a nostalgia for a simpler time. At Beamish, crowds gathered to find an escape from the fragmented and hedonistic life of modern society in a reconstructed realm of the past where local traditions and nature prevail.

The Playful Crowd Reviews

Social history at its best... Essential. Choice This book, which is vividly and engagingly written, makes a major contribution to our knowledge and understanding of a cultural phenomenon. The Times Higher Education Supplement ...A fascinating account of the changing nature of the pleasure-seeking crowd in the US and Britain during the twentieth century. -- Brad Beaven, University of Portsmouth Institute of Historical Research (UK) Engaging... fascinating... excellent... a model of collaborative scholarship, this book contributes much to the history of twentieth-century amusements. -- Susan Currell The American Historical Review The Playful Crowd succeeds admirably, both as comparative history and as a study of popular leisure. -- Scott C. Martin Journal of Social History A valuable book for students studying pleasure, leisure, and tourism. -- Auvo Kostiainen Annals of Tourism Research The Playful Crowd does what few studies of leisure have attempted--compare tourism across time and space. -- Thomas A. Chambers, Niagara University Winterthur Portfolio

About Gary Cross (Distinguished Professor of Modern History, Pennsylvania State University)

Gary S. Cross is professor of history at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of several titles, including An All-Consuming Century: Why Commercialism Won in Modern America (Columbia, 2000).John K. Walton is professor of social history at the University of Central Lancashire. His most recent book is The British Seaside: Holidays and Resorts in the Twentieth Century. Gary Cross is professor of history at Penn State and the author of An All-Consuming Century (CUP, 2000); Time and Money: The Making of Consumerist Modernity (Routledge, 1993; A Quest for Time: The Reduction of Work in Britain and France, 1840-1940 (University of California Press, 1989) and A Social History of Leisure since 1600 (Venture, 1990) Gary Cross is professor of history at Penn State and the author of An All-Consuming Century (CUP, 2000); Time and Money: The Making of Consumerist Modernity (Routledge, 1993; A Quest for Time: The Reduction of Work in Britain and France, 1840-1940 (University of California Press, 1989) and A Social History of Leisure since 1600 (Venture, 1990)

Table of Contents

Preface Introduction 1. Making the Popular Resort: Coney Island and Blackpool About 1900 2. Industrial Saturnalia and the Playful Crowd 3. The Crowd and its Critics 4. Decline and Reinvention: Coney Island and Blackpool 5. The Disney Challenge 6. Enrichment through Enjoyment: The Beamish Museum in a Theme Park Age 7. The Crowd Transformed? Notes Index

Additional information

GOR009829459
9780231127240
0231127243
The Playful Crowd: Pleasure Places in the Twentieth Century by Gary Cross (Distinguished Professor of Modern History, Pennsylvania State University)
Used - Very Good
Hardback
Columbia University Press
20051018
352
null null null null null null null null null null
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us

Customer Reviews - The Playful Crowd