The Beach: The History of Paradise on Earth

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Viking, 1998 - Nature - 310 pages
1 Review
As dazzling and seductive as the landscape it celebrates, here's the first book to tell the story of the beach -- its history, customs, spectacles, and scandals

Blue-green surf, pillowy white sand, and a warm salty breeze -- when it comes to restoring body and soul, no place in the world can compete with the beach. Nature's most potent antidepressant, the seashore is today -- but wasn't always -- everyone's favorite getaway spot. With an entertaining historical account as its narrative framework, this elegantly designed volume charts the evolution of the seaside from a wasteland at the margins of civilization -- remote, terror filled, and exotic -- to its present role as the central staging ground for diversions of all sorts: escape, re-creation, and congregation. A marvelous selection of images evokes the beach's hypnotic appeal -- everything from impressionist paintings and fascinating lithographs to archival photographs and quirky advertising art -- as the text explores the histories of sexuality, fashion, and sport; the rise of great resorts from Coney Island to Cap d'Antibes; and the evolution of leisure itself. Also included is an appendix of the world's most beautiful, luxurious, and unspoiled beaches. The Beach will be a pleasure to any reader who loves to settle down on the sand with a great -- and fascinating -- book.

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THE BEACH: The History of Paradise on Earth

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A husband-and-wife team of popular-culture experts provides a lively celebration of the beach, "nature's most potent antidepressant." Len—ek (The Antic Alphabet, 1994) and Bosker, professors of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ABVR - LibraryThing

A nifty history of the beach's role in (mostly) European culture from antiquity to the present, tracing the evolving perception of the beach from "wilderness" to "retreat for the wealthy (or the ... Read full review


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About the author (1998)

Lencek is a professor of Russian and the humanities at Reed College.

Karen Brooks is the author of several books and is the restaurant critic for the Portland Monthly. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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