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Reviews

"Jon Sterngass has written an engaging, creative book replete with evocative illustrations and witty quotes... a pleasant read."

"Having mined every conceivable source about his three sites, Sterngass has presented a wealth of interesting material not only about the resort experience but also about the residents, politicians, and entrepreneurs who built them. The book is handsomely illustrated with a large number of marvelous pictures and photographs."

"Sterngass writes about these resorts with the grace of a journalist, and he has clearly surveyed the popular published material of numerous observers."

"The book's in-depth look at three significant features of the nineteenth-century American leisure landscape provides concrete examples of otherwise elusive cultural trends and developments. It will be required reading for historians of American leisure, and of great interest to social and cultural historians more generally."

"Sterngass's impeccably researched, elegantly written, and handsomely illustrated volume 'examines three quintessential American resorts across the sweep of an entire century'... Thought-provoking and reassuringly well-documented."

"Jon Sterngass's First Resorts is to cultural history what Roland Barthes's Système de la mode was to fashion: a fiercely intelligent, scrupulously researched and beautifully crafted account of how nineteenth-century Americans went in search of health, rest, and diversion, and, in the process, invented holiday destinations as 'virtual holy centers for a secular society.' Erudite, inventive, and engrossing, Sterngass's analysis of three paradigmatic resorts uncovers unsuspected depths, complexities, and significance in social practices all too often dismissed as 'frivolous' and 'marginal.' In short, First Resorts should be first on reading list of everyone who is worn down by fatigue, work, and the futile race with time."

"Sterngass's discussions about privacy, community, commercialization, consumption, leisure, and the desire to be conspicuous are important and new. With its well-chosen illustrations, this is a handsome book as well as an important one."