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Backpack Ambassadors: How Youth Travel Integrated Europe Paperback – 23 May 2017
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"Backpack Ambassadors is a 'bottom-up' history of the construction of 'Europe' as both a political and cultural unit. It offers an account of the history Europe and the European Union that is not dominated by bureaucrats or diplomats, but by the youth who created 'Europe' as they moved through its hostels and railways stations. Jobs has written a model of new transnational history, drawing on extensive research in multiple languages, countries, and archives to make a very convincing case for how the movement of youth across national frontiers shaped several of the major political developments of the postwar era--from postwar reconstruction to Cold War politics, the reconciliation of Germany and France to the social protests of the 1960s, and of course, European unification."--Tara Zahra "author of The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World "
"In the era of Trumped-up travel bans and a dis-Maying upsurge in xenophobia, Jobs's erudite and lively Backpack Ambassadors offers a bittersweet reminder of hopes for an integrated Europe that may now feel as remote to readers as youth itself. . . . Assiduous archival research, together with compelling narratives of young people's personal travel experience, including Jobs' own, make Backpack Ambassadors a potent antidote to demoralizing accounts of Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen."--Book of the Week "Times Higher Education "
"This is an important book, especially at a time of Brexit and the trumpeting of increased border building."--South China Morning Post
"Jobs's book unfolds with the drama of a whirlwind train tour, but despite its many stops, it never loses direction, showing how backpacking countercultures helped form pan-European identity and irrevocably changed the global tourism business."--Los Angeles Review of Books
"A well-argued, well-written work that will alter the established assumptions about how European integration emerged. . . .Scholars and students of modern European history and European integration should not miss this work, but the general public, including many former young backpackers, will also appreciate learning how their personal experiences fit into the larger context of postwar European integration. Highly recommended."--Choice
"Backpack Ambassadors is an important example of a transnational and interdisciplinary history which will prove to be an indispensable model for scholars of migration, youth, and/or identity of any period. Using a rich variety of sources, anecdotal, poll-based, cultural, and archival, Jobs creates a vantage point from which to view a myriad of processes that have made, transformed, and redefined what it means to be young, mobile, and European in the postwar age."--Europe Now
"Backpack Ambassadors provides historians with crucial new insights into the history of European integration and postwar transnational youth culture. It should become required reading for any graduate or undergraduate course on postwar Europe."--H-Diplo
"Anyone who ever strapped on a backpack, bunked in youth hostels and made their way across Europe will delight in Richard Ivan Jobs's monograph on youth travel in postwar Europe. . . .Jobs has produced a first-rate transnational history. . .Jobs not only contributes to the history of childhood and youth, to migration history and to a history of European integration beyond Brussels. He also suggests how successful cultural integration--rather than its failure--may feed today's European crisis."--German History
"Jobs' work is a tour de force. The author continuously weaves together a variety of thematic and theoretical threads that make the book's argumentation very rich. At the same time, he shows awareness of the fact that a stronger European identity, enabled through youth travel, also led to the exclusion of millions of non-Europeans whose mobility is seen as threatening, an important observation which enables him to add another layer of contextualization to the reasons that led to the reimagining of the European space as Fortress Europe within which access to free mobility has profound class and racial connotations."--Journal of Tourism History
"Backpack Ambassadors marks a true breakthrough in the international history of tourism, particularly because it develops a completely new and convincing approach for our understanding of European integration from 1945 to the present. By linking this important political topic to the everyday practices of youths, Jobs allows us to see it as a result of societal and cultural developments beyond the political sphere rather than a process triggered by initiatives of anonymous European institutions. This is a brilliant book."--Detlef Siegfried, University of Copenhagen
About the Author
Richard Ivan Jobs is professor of history at Pacific University in Oregon. He is the author of Riding the New Wave: Youth and the Rejuvenation of France after the Second World War and coeditor of Transnational Histories of Youth in the Twentieth Century.
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