Stomping Grounds: A Pilgrim's Progress Through Eight American Subcultures

W. Hampton Sides, Author, Hampton Sides, Author
W. Hampton Sides, Author, Hampton Sides, Author William Morrow & Company $20 (272p) ISBN 978-0-688-09049-4
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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Contemplating the various subcultures into which Americans organize themselves, freelance journalist Sides once mused, ``If an American was into tiddlywinks, he could start a national association, and tiddlywinkers in their thousands would come crawling from the woodwork.'' Finding to his surprise that there actually was such an association, he set off to explore the national passion for joining. Sides attended the annual gatherings of eight associations that particularly titillated him; he reports here on a reunion of the power elite at the campy but exclusive Bohemian Club in San Francisco and the religious ardor he observed at annual meetings of Tupperware saleswomen, recreational-vehicles owners, sledders, aging hippies and Church of God disciples, among others. Almost always curious and entertaining, his descriptions of the settings, the members, the mystiques, the hoopla, the charismatic leaders and the histories of these groups throw revealing light on an idiosyncratic aspect of the national character. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
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