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Steppin' Out: New York Nightlife and the Transformation of American Culture, 1890-1930 (Contributions in American Studies) Hardcover – 29 Apr 1981

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?Steppin' Out is the first scholarly study of nightlife in the leading American metropolis or, for that matter, in any major American city. Previously explored only by popular writers and gossip columnists, this fascinating segment of modern urban culture has now finally received serious, sophisticated, and, not least important, sympathetic academic treatment. For Lewis Erenberg ... has presented nightlife-- its history, values, institutions and leading figures--as reflecting not the pathology of urban culture, as have so many others, but its positive expression, its unique identity. ... Steppin' Out is amply illustrated and clearly written. Based on entertainers' scrapbooks and memoirs, reformers' accounts, Variety, contemporary newspapers and other publications, it is ... a significant contribution to urban hstory.?-Urban History Review

About the Author

Lewis A. Erenberg is professor of history at Loyola University of Chicago. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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In the second half of the nineteenth century, the boundless individualism of American life underwent a process of consolidation and refinement. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Poorly Written 2 Feb. 2011
By Terence M. Cogswell - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There may not be a better source for the Nightlife of New York in the early 1900's but that doesn't mean this deserves 5 stars, that just means there's a very small and poorly developed material on this subject. The book is overly verbose to the point where it sounds like a creative writing teacher giving you an example of how not to engage your readers. I found myself extremely bored with the writing and often becoming distracted. I'm no slouch at reading either, I read 50+ books a year, not including school related books. This was still painful to read. The sentences were too close together on the page and the same stories were told over again with different people and places. You'll read multiple overly verbose accounts of how different restaraunts began catering to men and women, but there's no payoff to the reading. I don't even feel more informed after reading these accounts of how restaraunts become more lavish and the setbacks of plays catering to more than 1 class of people, I just feel drained. What should have been maybe a few essays totaling 50 pages was turned into a 270 page book and it did not end up well. I was nuetral towards New York nightlife in the past before reading this, but because of this book I now eschew the matter completely and hope never to hear or discuss it again.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
wonderful 30 Nov. 2003
By Alexandra - Published on
Format: Paperback
there simply isn't a better resource on the topic of nightclubs and other popular entertainment in NYC during this time. i highly recommend it.
3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
More transformation of culture than nightlife 30 May 2009
By KittyinVA - Published on
Format: Paperback
There is an unfortunate dearth of books on the nightlife of NYC from the teens through the twenties. This book gives a decent general overview, but I wanted more specific names and dates of cabarets, tea dansants venues, revues and the eventual speakeasies. I am looking for owners, hours of operation, names of entertainers and when they performed, menues and descriptions of the actual rooms and buildings in which it all took place. Though interesting, I was not seeking a treatise on women's rights, and the "transformation of culture". Though well-written and at times thought-provoking, this book is two-thirds social history and only one-third about the actual venues and entertainers. The other review did not mention this, so I hope this will be helpful to someone like myself who is seeking the who, what's and when's more than the why's.
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