Sunday, March 24, 2024

Pg. 99: Rachel S. Gross's "Shopping All the Way to the Woods"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Shopping All the Way to the Woods: How the Outdoor Industry Sold Nature to America by Rachel S. Gross.

About the book, from the publisher:
A fascinating history of the profitable paradox of the American outdoor experience: visiting nature first requires shopping

No escape to nature is complete without a trip to an outdoor recreational store or a browse through online offerings. This is the irony of the American outdoor experience: visiting wild spaces supposedly untouched by capitalism first requires shopping. With consumers spending billions of dollars on clothing and equipment each year as they seek out nature, the American outdoor sector grew over the past 150 years from a small collection of outfitters to an industry contributing more than 2 percent of the nation’s economic output.

Rachel S. Gross argues that this success was predicated not just on creating functional equipment but also on selling an authentic, anticommercial outdoor identity. In other words, shopping for the woods was also about being—or becoming—the right kind of person. Demonstrating that outdoor culture is commercial culture, Gross examines Americans’ journey toward outdoor expertise by tracing the development of the nascent outdoor goods industry, the influence of World War II on its growth, and the boom years of outdoor businesses.
Visit Rachel S. Gross's website.

The Page 99 Test: Shopping All the Way to the Woods.

--Marshal Zeringue