Wikins, Ken Smith,
and Doug Kirby. The New Updated and Revised Roadside America. New York:
Smith & Schuster, 1992.
This is a revised edition
of the immensely popular 1986 edition of Roadside America. As the front
cover of the book declares, Roadside America is "the modern travelers
guide to the wild and wonderful world of America's Tourist Attractions."
However, this is no where near you"average" travel guide. It is full
of the architecture of "the absurd." The authors have compiled a connoisseur's
guide to the "camp" and "kitsch" that can be found throughout
the United States. The editors trace the trend of architectural and cultural
experimentation. As they write in the introduction: Small towns desperately
look to tourism for their next meal. They'll do almost anything to get you to
stop." The authors set themselves against the purifying and genteel ideas
of travel while celebrating the strange and original structures of the road.
For example, in the introduction they write: "We give an oxen statue that
pees a fiar shake against any celebrated 'folk art environment.'" This
book is full of fun and interesting areas and buildings throughout the coutnry,
most of which have not been studied in academia. [N. King]