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Summer read

April 15, 2011

Sandra DawsonSandra Trudgen Dawson, a faculty member in the NIU Department of History, has a written a new book about holiday camps in 20th-century Britain.

Dawson will deliver a talk on the book – titled “Holiday Camps in Twentieth-Century Britain: Packaging Pleasure” (University of Manchester Press and Palgrave MacMillan) – at 3 p.m. Friday, April 29, in the Center for Latino & Latin American Studies, 515 Garden Road in DeKalb.

The book focuses on two holiday camp chains established in the 1930s that provided thousands of visitors each year with packaged pleasure. This highly readable and original history tells the story of an older-style leisure culture that post-industrial Britain seems to have outgrown, but not forgotten.

Butlin and Warner, the big commercial chains of the 1950s and 1960s, are enmeshed in the social and cultural history of 20th-century Britain. Their large-scale camps offered “affordable” holidays for British workers at a key moment when unions argued paid holidays were a right, not a luxury.

Dawson uncovers the significance of the holiday camps to the political, economic, social and cultural history of 20th-century Britain, drawing on an impressive variety of sources, from government documents to trade journals, advertising, photographs, oral histories, literature, films and songs.