Going Out: The Rise and Fall of Public Amusements. By David Nasaw. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1999
Critical Book Review: Going Out by David Nasaw
David Nasaw's Going Out documents not only the historical relevancy of public amusements in the era, but also their economic and sociological effects. Nasaw paints a picture of amusements in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He discusses all of the various forms of amusements from museums, vaudeville's, and nickelodeon's to ball parks, world fairs, and saloon's. Nasaw's chapter by chapter examination of each of the amusements provides an in-depth look at how everyone from the lower/middle class to the upper class spent their leisure time. Nasaw also examines the sociological impacts of these amusements on people, discussing how it served to further aide racial segregation, but also helped to integrate the flourish of European immigrants into American culture.
Nasaw's research was extensive, and extremely well documented.
He used a wide variety of both primary and secondary sources. Seemingly relying on the secondary sources to support his arguments while using primary sources to provide an accurate account of how things really were. Having chapter by chapter accounts of each of the various forms of public amusements made his research quite thorough. Within the text his sources were footnoted on the page, beginning with a new set of footnotes at the onset of each chapter. The footnotes were then carefully compiled into a forty three page section at the end of the book where all of the footnotes were organized by chapter and explained in full detail. A large part of Nasaw's research was based primarily on two major cities, Chicago, and New York. While it is acceptable to draw generalizations about other major urban area's it is still unclear as to...