One for the Road: Hotel – An American History

A copy of this book, paired with some room reservations at a classic American hotel, might be a nice holiday gift for the history buff in your life: Hotel – An American History is a volume of stories and illustrations that explores how the hotel came to be in this country. The book tracks the invention of hotels in America, as inns and taverns gave way to the creation of majestic architectural masterpieces suited with grand ballrooms and private bed chambers. This review tells more:

Once upon a time, hotels were simply way-stations where weary travelers could stop to rest along a journey that could take many days. But over the centuries, hotels evolved into the symbols of American capitalism and of urban life. The biggest and best of them provided glamour, sophistication, elegance, and excitement, and A. K. Sandoval-Strausz has now given them the recognition they deserve. Beautifully illustrated and engagingly written, Hotel will reward both the specialist and the general reader.-Kenneth T. Jackson, Columbia University

Topics explored include: What it was like to sleep, eat, and socialize at a hotel in the mid-1800s; How hotelkeepers dealt with the illicit activities of adulterers, thieves, and violent guests; The stories behind America’s greatest hotels, including the Waldorf-Astoria, the Plaza, the Willard, the Blackstone, and the Fairmont; and how the development of steamboats and locomotives helped create a nationwide network of hotels.