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Going Out

Going Out

The Rise and Fall of Public Amusements

David Nasaw

ISBN 9780674356221

Publication date: 04/15/1999

David Nasaw has written a sparkling social history of twentieth-century show business and of the new American public that assembled in the city's pleasure palaces, parks, theaters, nickelodeons, world's fair midways, and dance halls.

The new amusement centers welcomed women, men, and children, native-born and immigrant, rich, poor and middling. Only African Americans were excluded or segregated in the audience, though they were overrepresented in parodic form on stage. This stigmatization of the African American, Nasaw argues, was the glue that cemented an otherwise disparate audience, muting social distinctions among "whites," and creating a common national culture.


  • No other book brings together so much material about so many different urban entertainment forms—and connects their history with a few simple and powerful overarching themes.

    —Warren Goldstein, The Nation


  • David Nasaw is Professor of History and American Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Book Details

  • 320 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press