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Building a Market: The Rise of the Home Improvement Industry, 1914-1960

Richard Harris

1 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0226317668 / ISBN 13: 9780226317663
Published by The University of Chicago Press
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Building a Market: The Rise of the Home ...

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press

Binding: Hardback

Book Condition: New

About this title

Synopsis:

Each year, North Americans spend as much money fixing up their homes as they do buying new ones. This obsession with improving our dwellings has given rise to a multibillion-dollar industry that includes countless books, consumer magazines, a cable television network, and thousands of home improvement stores. "Building a Market" charts the rise of the home improvement industry in the United States and Canada from the end of World War I into the late 1950s. Drawing on the insights of business, social, and urban historians, and making use of a wide range of documentary sources, Richard Harris shows how the middle-class preference for home ownership first emerged in the 1920s - and how manufacturers, retailers, and the federal government combined to establish the massive home improvement market and a pervasive culture of Do-It-Yourself. Deeply insightful, "Building a Market" is the carefully crafted history of the emergence and evolution of a home improvement revolution that changed not just American culture but the American landscape as well.

Review:

"While much has been written about homeownership, until now no history has explored the flip side of home owning, home repair, home maintenance, and home remodeling. In this unique, highly readable, and richly illustrated study, Richard Harris unscrambles the fascinating saga behind the building of the home improvement market. Part consumer history, part business history, and part planning and development history, Harris's work carries us from the small lumberyards of the nineteenth and early twentieth century to Johns-Manville showrooms and the modern Home Depot. It is an illuminating and enjoyable ride."
--John F. Bauman "University of Southern Maine "

"Weaving together social, economic, business, and gender history, "Building a Market" will force scholars to rethink the nature of American home ownership, the impact of the Federal Housing Administration, and the hegemonic powers often attributed to consumer culture, mass marketing, large-scale business organization, and technological innovation. Harris reveals that market mechanisms have been the arena for a shifting interplay of individuals' desires, industrial supply, manufacturing methods, capital and credit, and government policy. If the market system in modern society is more complex and fragmented than we have been led to believe, "Building a Market" reveals its power in allowing and constraining Americans to build their homes and live their lives."
--Alexander Von Hoffman "Harvard University "

While much has been written about homeownership, until now no history has explored the flip side of home owning, home repair, home maintenance, and home remodeling.In this unique, highly readable, and richly illustrated study, Richard Harris unscrambles the fascinating saga behind the building of the home improvement market. Part consumer history, part business history, and part planning and development history, Harris s work carries us from the small lumberyards of the nineteenth and early twentieth century to Johns-Manville showrooms and the modern Home Depot.It is an illuminating and enjoyable ride.
--John F. Bauman "University of Southern Maine ""

Weaving together social, economic, business, and gender history, "Building a Market" will force scholars to rethink the nature of American home ownership, the impact of the Federal Housing Administration, and the hegemonic powers often attributed to consumer culture, mass marketing, large-scale business organization, and technological innovation. Harris reveals that market mechanisms have been the arena for a shifting interplay of individuals desires, industrial supply, manufacturing methods, capital and credit, and government policy. If the market system in modern society is more complex and fragmented than we have been led to believe, "Building a Market" reveals its power in allowing and constraining Americans to build their homes and live their lives.
--Alexander Von Hoffman "Harvard University ""

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