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Rothman, Hal (ed.). The Culture of Tourism, the Tourism of Culture: Selling the Past to the Present in the American Southwest. University of New Mexico Press, 2003. This anthology of eleven essays, including one by editor Rothman, addresses the topic outlined in the Introduction: how and why cultural tourism has become "an integral part of the future not only of tourism, but also of the economy of the American Southwest." Rothman notes that the regionís travel industry has historically been constructed around heritage and culture, well before the phrase "cultural tourism" was coined. In that sense, examining Southwest tourism can help the many places developing cultural tourism programs. Rothmanís Devilís Bargains: Tourism in the Twentieth-century American West (1998) is an insightful cautionary tale for communities that believe tourism might solve their economic woes. Cultural tourism is mentioned in that book, but the primary focus is the business of tourism that defines much of the Westís growth industry. Devilís Bargains suggests tourism often ruins what it touches, and this anthology has a similar tone. Most essays zero in on the inherent challenge of superimposing business on culture, and that same difficulty rubs off on the book. When assembling an anthology on the topic, whoís the audience? The tourism industry? Cultural practitioners? Tourism scholars? Rothman attempts a bit of everything, which is hinted at in the palindrome-like title, suggesting both a sociological view (Culture of Tourism) and a prescriptive analysis (Tourism of Culture). Given that commendable yet challenging approach, the collection feels incomplete and unfocused. Most articles are well-researched and shed a narrow beam of light on a popular tourism trend. Taken together, however, the parts donít add up to a satisfying whole. Tourism scholars will find the collection helpful, and that may be as historian Rothman intended; but the more ambitious goal hinted at in the Introduction goes unmet. The first six historical and biographical sketches explain how businesses, communities, and tourists fostered the exoticism essential to Southwest travel. These pieces presage themes current in cultural tourism studies: exploitation, commodification, identity politics, myth vs. reality, and marketing over substance. While the regionís American Indian heritage is arguably its most marketable commodity, too many essays deal mostly with Native issues, with less on Hispanic heritage, and almost nothing on other stories central to Southwest history Ė and tourism today: mining and military history, pioneer narratives, African American and Asian perspectives, and the entire cowboy story (and myth). Two articles review the mechanics of cultural tourism Ė a community approach and a business plan. These nuts-and-bolts essays seem out of place, sandwiched between history and the final essays, which shift to more postmodern, sociological dimensions Ė including Rothmanís assertion that Las Vegas represents cultural tourismís future. Letís hope heís wrong about that. Curiously, the anthology barely mentions museums. Cultural tourism may have its origins elsewhere, but today the leading proponents include history museums, whose efforts receive almost no attention. Several contributors are well-known scholars in cultural studies, many are steeped in tourism research, and individually they provide interesting reading. However, there is much repetition, especially concerning the commodification of Native cultures, and the anthology could present a broader range of ideas and programmatic approaches. After putting the book down, some readers will probably still wonder what this thing called "cultural tourism" is, and what its place is today within the tourism industry.


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