Winnebago Nation: The RV in American Culture

Hardcover | April 8, 2014

byJames B. Twitchell

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In Winnebago Nation, popular critic James B. Twitchell takes a light-hearted look at the culture and industry behind the yearning to spend the night in one's car. For the young the roadtrip is a coming-of-age ceremony; for those later in life it is the realization of a lifelong desire to be spontaneous, nomadic, and free. Informed by his own experiences on the road, Twitchell recounts the RV's origins and evolution over the twentieth century; its rise, fall, and rebirth as a cultural icon; its growing mechanical complexity as it evolved from an estate wagon to a converted bus to a mobile home; and its role in bolstering and challenging conceptions of American identity.

Mechanical yet dreamy, independent yet needful, solitary yet clubby, adventurous yet homebound, life in a mobile home is a distillation of the American character and an important embodiment of American exceptionalism, (Richie Rich and Hobo Hank spend time in essentially the same rig at the same campground, albeit for different reasons and in different levels of comfort.) The frontier may be tapped out but we still yearn for the exploratory life. Twitchell concludes with his thoughts on the future of RV communities and the possibility of mobile cities becoming a real part of the American landscape.

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From the Publisher

In Winnebago Nation, popular critic James B. Twitchell takes a light-hearted look at the culture and industry behind the yearning to spend the night in one's car. For the young the roadtrip is a coming-of-age ceremony; for those later in life it is the realization of a lifelong desire to be spontaneous, nomadic, and free. Informed by ...

James B. Twitchell taught English and advertising at the University of Florida for many years and is the author of Adcult USA, Lead Us Into Temptation, and Where Men Hide. He has traveled up and down the Eastern Seaboard in a small RV with his wife and driven across the Deep South, up to Newfoundland, and all the way to Alaska.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:192 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:April 8, 2014Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231167784

ISBN - 13:9780231167789

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Read from the Book

Read "Thoreau at 29¢ $4.00 a Gallon," the first chapter to Winnebago Nation

Table of Contents

1. Thoreau at $4.00 a Gallon: The Peculiar Place of the RV in American Culture2. At Home on the Road: A Fleeting History of the American Dream in RVs3. Wheel Escape: Consumption Communities on the Road4. Park It: From Kampgrounds of America to the Slabs5. The Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and... of the RV in AmericaAcknowledgmentsIndex

Editorial Reviews

This work will make even the most skeptical reader appreciate the importance of the RV in American history-no mean feat.