Cover image for Fun and games in twentieth-century America : a historical guide to leisure
Fun and games in twentieth-century America : a historical guide to leisure
Giordano, Ralph G.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xv, 304 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV53 .G56 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Throughout the 20th century, America underwent rapid change, from horses and buggies, through two world wars, and finally to the arrival of the Internet. But Americans have always needed time for relaxation and recreation. This book describes how political, economic, and cultural events influenced the history and development of the leisure pursuits of Americans of different races and ethnic backgrounds during the 20th century. Readers learn about the opening of Disney World and the ever-popular auto vacation, as well as the laws, acts, and organizations that allowed leisure time and activities to become a permanent fixture in American culture. Other topics include the significance of the Model T Ford, the development of the 40-hour work week, and the lure of reality television shows.

Sections include

The Progressive Era and Reformers

The War to End All Wars

Black Death to Black Tuesday

The Great Depression and the New Deal

The Good War and the Aftermath

Television, Teenagers, and Rock 'n Roll

The Jet Age and Turbulence

Yuppies, Star Wars, and MTV

Generation 'X, ' the Internet, and Virtual Reality

Organized chronologically, this book is ideal for high school students, college students, and the general public. It identifies the most popular games, sports, and hobbies of social groups ranging from the working class to the wealthy, along with their importance in American history. Over 51 photos illustrate the different leisure pursuits in their time periods.

Author Notes

RALPH G. GIORDANO holds a license as a professional Registered Architect in the state of New York, a Master's degree in History from the City University of New York, and a Bachelor's degree in architecture from the New York Institute of Technology. His previous published works include three entries on the architecture of the Gilded Age, and biographical entries on John Deere and Levi Strauss. He has also contributed articles to several historical journals on various topics including Rosa Parks, Thomas Jefferson, Cold War Culture, Swing Music, Hip-hop, and the integrated use of Popular Culture and History. Giordano is Adjunct Professor of History at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Giordano, an architect and adjunct professor of history (College of Staten Island, CUNY), bases this book primarily on secondary sources, but relies too much on such sources as the volumes in Time-Life's decadal history of the 20th century, This Fabulous Century, and Eliot Asinof's 1919: America's Loss of Innocence (1990). The author divides the book into nine chronological chapters and each of these into topical sections, which include "Public Interest," "Lifestyles," "Music and Theater," "Sports and Games," and a conclusion. The periodicity is broken up by chapters on WW I and WW II. Giordano examines many individual forms of leisure, but coverage of major subjects like radio, amusement parks, theater, and sports is too brief. The volume includes a lot of information, some contextualization and analysis, and about 50 well-chosen photographs. Overall, the material seems quite accurate, except for some errors on dates of sporting events. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and general readers. S. A. Riess Northeastern Illinois University

Table of Contents

The Progressive Era and Reformers: 1900-1914
The War to End All Wars: 1914-1918
Black Death to Black Tuesday: 1919-1929
"And All the Fun in Between"
The Great Depression and the New Deal: 1929-1939
The Good War and the Aftermath: 1940-1946
Television, Teenagers, and Rock 'n Roll: 1947-1964
The Jet Age and Turbulence: 1964-1979
Yuppies, Star Wars, and MTV: 1980-1992
Generation 'X,' the Internet, and Virtual Reality: 1992-2000
About the Author