The Invention of the Park
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The Invention of the Park

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The word 'park' conjures a kaleidoscope of bucolic images. Childhood frolics in urban playgrounds. Strolls through the country estates of Stourhead and Versailles. Wilderness adventures in the Serengeti. White-knuckle thrill rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Coney Island. The Invention of the Park explores our fascination with making parks. In a broad-ranging environmental and social history, authors Karen Jones and John Wills search for a common set of ideas that inform park design. From Greek philosophers wandering sacred groves in the ancient world to today's kids watching Mickey Mouse in Disney's Magic Kingdom, the park has inspired and thrilled in equal measure. In a work spanning all five continents and several thousand years, Jones and Wills chart the evolution of the park idea. They ponder the intersection of the green pleasure ground with notions of democracy and freedom, welfare and consumption, conservation and nature. They forward the principle of a universal park idea malleable enough to survive war and revolution.
Contributing to a growing literature on global environmental history, the Invention of the Park explores how the park idea has come to transcend national boundaries and found appeal among a worldwide audience. Jones and Wills situate the park as a complex product of natural and cultural forces. Their work is of interest not just to students and scholars of environmental philosophy, history, and landscape design, but to amateur gardeners, rollercoaster 'adrenalin junkies' and all those who like to take a 'walk in the park.'
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Product details

  • Hardback | 248 pages
  • 152 x 228 x 24mm | 539.78g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New.
  • 0
  • 074563138X
  • 9780745631387

About John Wills

Karen Jones, Lecturer in American Historyat the School of History, University of Kent John Wills, Teacher in American Studies, Sociology and History, University of Essex
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Review quote

'English landscape parks, nature parks and science parks are skilfully examined in this insightful book. Jones and Wills deftly treat a wide range of topics and eras, but never lose sight of the park idea expressed in all of them.' Thomas Zeller, University of Maryland 'Jones and Wills are a formidable talent. They take us on a thrilling journey across the world, from ancient to modern times, visiting a diverse range of parks en route: the large and small, the rural and urban, the wild and landscaped, the game and sporting, the lived in and playground, and the traditional and industrial. At all the park stops, we are challenged to think about the dynamic and changing relationship between Nature and People over time.' Robert Lambert, University of Nottingham
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Back cover copy

The word 'park' conjures a kaleidoscope of bucolic images. Childhood frolics in urban playgrounds. Strolls through the country estates of Stourhead and Versailles. Wilderness adventures in the Serengeti. White-knuckle thrill rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Coney Island. The Invention of the Park explores our fascination with making parks. In a broad-ranging environmental and social history, authors Karen Jones and John Wills search for a common set of ideas that inform park design. From Greek philosophers wandering sacred groves in the ancient world to today's kids watching Mickey Mouse in Disney's Magic Kingdom, the park has inspired and thrilled in equal measure. In a work spanning all five continents and several thousand years, Jones and Wills chart the evolution of the park idea. They ponder the intersection of the green pleasure ground with notions of democracy and freedom, welfare and consumption, conservation and nature. They forward the principle of a universal park idea malleable enough to survive war and revolution.

Contributing to a growing literature on global environmental history, the Invention of the Park explores how the park idea has come to transcend national boundaries and found appeal among a worldwide audience. Jones and Wills situate the park as a complex product of natural and cultural forces. Their work is of interest not just to students and scholars of environmental philosophy, history, and landscape design, but to amateur gardeners, rollercoaster 'adrenalin junkies' and all those who like to take a 'walk in the park.'
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Table of contents

Introduction: Defining the Park.1. From Ancient Groves to Versailles.2. The English Landscape Park.3. City Park: Bringing the Country to the Metropolis.4. Nature and Recreation in the National Park.5. Amusement Parks and Theme Parks.6. Trapping Nature in the Animal Park.7. Expanding the Park Experience.Conclusion: The Park Ideal from Paradise to Utopia.Notes.A Guide to Further Reading.Bibliography.Index.
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