The book’s author, Sarah Schrank, is a professor of history at California State University Long Beach, so her academic credentials are good. Likewise, it’s not surprising that the book is a carefully researched, scholarly work that respects academic norms of objectivity towards the subject matter. The 35 pages of footnotes testify to the diligence of Schrank’s research. Her sources go back at least as far as 1889, although many of the references are to contemporary newspapers and similar records that would be difficult, at best, for most readers to examine.
Continue reading “Book review: Free and Natural“
This is an (almost) incredibly good history of naturism in France, from its cautious beginnings in the later 1920s up to the incipience of its present state in the 1970s – a 50-year span. What makes it so excellent is that the author must have found and examined literally thousands of contemporary documents – news articles, public records, naturist magazines, etc. Today, France is probably the country with the most vital and flourishing naturist culture in the world. In part, this is due to the favorable climate of southern France on and near the Mediterranean coast, as well as a still decent climate (for Europe) on the Atlantic coast west of Bordeaux. But it’s also due to the prior existence, for roughly 25 years, of naturism in Germany. In spite of the conflict between France and Germany in WW I, many of the earliest naturists in France were visitors from Germany. Given Germany’s less agreeable climate for outdoor nudity, German nudists’ interest in French locales is less surprising.
Continue reading “Book review: Au Naturel“
No mystery about the subject of the book. It’s a quick but interesting read – only about 155 pages of actual text, with good color photos on roughly half the pages, plus notes on the 25 authors/photographers and credits for the various photos. There are 22 essays, 1 poem, and a Foreword. The editor, Foley, himself contributed 4 of the essays and the Foreword. He’s well qualified for the task, as he has led week-long naked walking tours in the Alps every year since 2005 – with another planned for 2020. These treks are known as Naked European Walking Tours (NEWT). More information on the tours is available at the given link.
Continue reading “Review of Naked Hiking (Richard Foley, ed.)”