Experience the electrifying, never-before-told true story of amusement parks, from the middle ages to present day, and meet the colorful (and sometimes criminal) characters who are responsible for their enchanting charms.
Step right up! The Amusement Park is a rich, anecdotal history that begins nine centuries ago with the "pleasure gardens" of Europe and England and ends with the most elaborate modern parks in the world. It's a history told largely through the stories of the colorful, sometimes hedonistic characters who built them, including:
Showmen like Joseph and Nicholas Schenck and Marcus Loew
Railroad barons Andrew Mellon and Henry E. Huntington
The men who ultimately destroyed the parks, including Robert Moses and Fred Trump
Gifted artisans and craft-people who brought the parks to life
An amazing cast of supporting players, from Al Capone to Annie Oakley
And, of course, this is a full-throttle celebration of the rides, those marvels of engineering and heart-stopping thrills from an author, Stephen Silverman, whose life-long passion for his subject shines through. The parks and fairs featured include the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, Coney Island, Steeplechase Park, Dreamland, Euclid Beach Park, Cedar Point, Palisades Park, Ferrari World, Dollywood, Sea World, Six Flags Great Adventure, Universal Studios, Disney World and Disneyland, and many more.
About the Author
Stephen M. Silverman is a twenty-year veteran of Time Inc. and was the founding editor of People.com. He is the author of The Amusement Park as well as The Catskills: Its History and How It Changed America among many other titles. His work has appeared in Esquire, Harper's Bazaar, The New York Times, The Times (London), Vogue, and The Washington Post. He lives in New York City.
"A vivid -- often ardent -- history... A legitimate way to study American cultural and social history... Even in this digital age, it seems, there's a craving for communal diversion, and for gathering agog crowds before a shared spectacle."—Wall Street Journal
"Spectacular...lavishly illustrated, deeply researched and widely enjoyable."—Chicago Tribune
"[The Amusement Park is] rich with anecdotes that complement its easy-to-read style; truly this book is suggested for those who have a strong interest in the subject as well as for those interested in American recreational culture of the 19th and 20th centuries... This ambitious project could possibly be considered the definitive work on the history of what is considered today the Amusement Park."—Boston City Paper
"[The Amusement Park] is stunningly written while being both entertaining and vastly informative.... A must for anyone with interest in the business of fun."
—Tim Baldwin, Amusement Today
"Compelling."—New York Post
"The most fascinating part of the book is the schemers and dreamers who made [the parks] all become reality all the way back to the Venice ferris wheel, to P.T. Barnum, Walt Disney and to the latest from Universal Studios, Disney and Six Flags... It's a perfect summer book."—Provokr
"Starting with the Middle Ages, Silverman traces the path from European 'pleasure gardens' to Universal Studios, profiling the colorful characters who created amusement parks and the rides that drew customers."—Publishers Weekly, Spring Announcements feature