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Bibliography: Books: General History/Analysis

This bibliography covers books which may be useful in researching theme parks, amusement parks, and related subjects. Some of these books are available from the publisher or your favorite bookstore, while others are out of print but may still possibly be obtained through a used book dealer or from your library (in stock or through interlibrary loan). When possible a link has been provided to where you may check availability and order the book directly.

Adams, Judith A.
The American Amusement Park Industry: A History of Technology and Thrills. Boston: Twayne. 1991. xvi,225p. Some B&W Photos. Excellent academic history of theme and amusement parks.
Search for a used copy at

Baine, Celeste
The Fantastical Engineer. Farmerville, LA: Bonamy Publishing. 2000. 141p. A few B&W Photos and drawings. A vocational guidance book aimed at the would-be roller coaster or theme park designer.
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Dykstra, Brian
Amusement Park U.S.A.. Fullerton, CA: Hal Leonard. 1985. 42p. A few badly reproduced B&W Photos. Simplified piano music for 16 songs "depicting in musical sounds some of the typical experiences you enjoy at the park," including titles like The View From the Space Tower and Time Out For A Taco. Photos are from Knott's Berry Farm.
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Griffin, Al
Step Right Up, Folks!. Chicago: H. Regnery Co. 1974. xii,257p. B&W Photos. Conversational history of amusement parks and rides. Includes a listing of parks open at the time of publication.
Out of print. Search for a used copy at

Hendry, Joy
The Orient Strikes Back: A Global View of Cultural Display. NY: Berg. 2000. xiii, 257p. Color Photos. Explores Japan's theme parks devoted to foreign cultures in the context of the history of cultural display.
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Kyriazi, Gary
The Great American Amusement Parks. Secaucus, N.J.: Citadel Press. 1976. 256p. B&W Photos. Well illustrated coffee table book history of amusement and theme parks.
Out of print. Search for a used copy at

Mangels, William F.
The Outdoor Amusement Industry. NY: Vantage. 1952. 206p. B&W Photos. The classic authoritative history of amusement parks and rides, written by a ride designer and manufacturer.
Out of print.

Price, Harrison "Buzz"
Walt's Revolution! By the Numbers. Orlando, FL: Ripley Publishing. [2004]. 336p. Color and B&W photos. Part autobiography, part history, and part textbook; Harrison "Buzz" Price, the man who did the original feasibility studies for Walt Disney for Disneyland, runs the numbers on the theme park industry from Disney and the waves of development that followed through his involvement with studies for SeaWorld, Six Flags, Busch, etc.. Contains an invaluable practical section on designing and figuring feasibility for attractions drawn from his considerable experience.
Check availability at, or Amazon UK.

Samuelson, Dale with Yegoiants, Wendy
The American Amusement Park. St. Paul, MN: 2001. 156p. Color and B&W photos. Heavily illustrated coffee table style book on the history of amusement parks. Individual chapters on roller coasters, lost parks, rides, Coney Island, etc.
Check availability at, or Amazon UK.

Sorkin, Michael (Editor)
Variations on a Theme Park: the new American city and the end of public space. NY: Hill and Wang. 1992. xv,252p. A few B&W Photos. A collection of essays about the evils of theme park influence (as a representation of commodification) in American life.
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See Also:

Bibliography: Park & Coaster Videos
Bibliography: Guidebooks
Bibliography: Park Histories
Bibliography: Roller Coasters
Links: Amusement Park History
Links: Amusement Ride Safety
Links: Enthusiast Clubs
Links: Rides & Roller Coasters
Links: USA Theme Parks, Waterparks, & Zoos

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