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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than architecture, 18 Dec 2013
This review is from: The Architecture of Pleasure (Ashgate Studies in Architecture) (Hardcover)
I loved reading this book. Josephine Kane has written a fascinating and detailed history of the rise of Britain's twentieth century amusement parks. The title belies its contents a little. The architecture of amusement parks is appealing, but Kane goes way beyond this framing device to deliver an insightful social history of this important form of public leisure. There are some surprising elements. The Edwardian customers of the early amusement parks are far from being the buttoned-up and constrained people of popular imagination. Their delight in their bodies being `in chaos' is charming and unexpected. Their equal obsession with technological modernity is also well-explained. Kane takes this history into the inter-war period, demonstrating the importance of American and continental architectural and design influences on the major parks of the period such as Blackpool's Pleasure Beach and Margate's Dreamland.

This book will appeal to both academic and general audiences; its theoretical underpinning is precisely assembled, but it is encapsulated into a specialist chapter so as to not impede the intriguing story that Kane has revealed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Architecture of Pleasure - a volume not to miss, 5 May 2014
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Dr. G. Mitchell (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Architecture of Pleasure (Ashgate Studies in Architecture) (Hardcover)
‘The Architecture of Pleasure’ by Josephine Kane

Having read some of Kane’s academic material previously, I anticipated that this would be a valuable resource. I am pleased to say that I was not disappointed. This is an outstanding work, resulting from the efforts of a researcher and writer who is committed to making sense of this historical topic of British Amusement Parks at the beginning of the 20th Century. Not only does she understand the reasons for the popularity of this form of entertainment, but she communicates her understanding so well.
This is a multi-faceted work, capturing both history and psychology. On the surface the book simply takes the reader on a time machine journey to the early decades of the 1900s, and provides fascinating insight into the importance of the Amusement Park in our social history. Much more is available though. Kane has an eye for detail, a determination to tease out historical facts and a brilliant insight into the significance of the events and the locations she is describing. Kane is an excellent researcher and the book is enriched with the results of some time-consuming and through research.
This book has huge explanatory power in terms of both the psychology of pleasure in general, and in the study of contemporary pleasure and entertainment dynamics. This work serves to connect us with our past, and weaves psychological and economic lessons into a fascinating narrative. It resonates with Jungian archetype concepts and delivers an outstanding explanation for the popularity of Amusement Parks and other buildings of pleasure such as the Cinema. Lessons learnt would serve to inform those currently tasked with resurrecting the Dreamland site in Margate; one of the principal locations addressed in the book. Her work on the Dreamland story, particularly the Dreamland Cinema Margate, makes a significant and valuable contribution to the so-far limited literature on this topic. For those interested in social psychology, business, architecture, early 20th Century entertainment history and the economics of pleasure, this is a volume not to miss.
Dr Graham Mitchell
Division of Psychology
The University of Northampton.
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5.0 out of 5 stars kane is able, 17 Mar 2014
i am biased because i studied at uni with jk but anyway beyond that my advice is simple - buy it.
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The Architecture of Pleasure (Ashgate Studies in Architecture)
The Architecture of Pleasure (Ashgate Studies in Architecture) by Josephine Kane (Hardcover - 31 Oct 2013)
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