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Amusing the Million

Coney Island at the Turn of the Century

John Kasson

Hill and Wang

Coney Island: the name still resonates with a sense of racy Brooklyn excitement, the echo of beach-front popular entertainment before World War I. Amusing the Million examines the historical context in which Coney Island made its reputation as an amusement park and shows how America's changing social and economic conditions formed the basis of a new mass culture. Exploring it afresh in this way, John Kasson shows Coney Island no longer as the object of nostalgia but as a harbinger of modernity--and the many photographs, lithographs, engravings, and other reproductions with which he amplifies his text support this lively thesis.

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Amusing the Million
Coney Island: the name still resonates with a sense of excitement, the echo of an earlier age. Once commanding two miles of beach on the southwestern end of Long Island, the amusement center has seen its domain dwindle to an area sixteen blocks long and two wide. Coney now lives largely on the borrowed capital of its past. It wears an air of faded glory, making it a favorite subject of Sunday-supplement articles and anecdotal tributes. But despite the nostalgia Coney Island arouses, the historical context in which it established its enduring national reputation remains n
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • John Kasson

  • John F. Kasson, who teaches history and American studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the author of Houdini, Tarzan and the Perfect Man; Amusing the Million; Rudeness and Civility; and Civilizing the Machine.
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    Amusing the Million

    Coney Island at the Turn of the Century

    John Kasson

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