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Waiting for the Weekend Paperback – July 1, 1992


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An enchanting, strikingly profound meditation on the relationship between lesiure and labor .
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In the form of a long, extended essay, the author discusses the emergence of the two-day weekend from the 19th century to the present. Successive chapters trace the historical origins of the week; days of rest throughout history; sacred and secular time; the boundary between leisure and work; the nature of leisure; the make-believe world of weekend retreats; controversy over the purpose of leisure; the present reorganization and standardization of work throughout the modern world, in which leisure now fulfills unmet work needs; and differences in national attitudes to leisure. The author draws on the works of Aristotle, Bertrand Russell, Jane Austen, Lewis Mumford, and others. This witty, readable, well-researched study with extensive notes and suggestions for further reading is certain to stimulate thinking. Recommended for general collections as well as history, sociology, business, and urban studies. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/91.
- Lesley Jorbin, Cleveland State Univ. Lib.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; First Paperback Edition edition (July 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140126635
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140126631
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,465,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Witold Rybczynski has written about architecture and urbanism for The New York Times, Time, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker. He is the author of the critically-acclaimed book Home and the award-winning A Clearing in the Distance. His latest book is The Biography of a Building. The recipient of the National Building Museum's 2007 Vincent Scully Prize, he lives with his wife in Philadelphia, where he is emeritus professor of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania.
Read his blog at http://www.witoldrybczynski.com.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
This delightful shortish (234 pages) book is a sort of rambling essay on first the development of the seven day week and the two day weekend (which unlike the 365 day year, the 30 day month and the 24 hour day, are not dictated by celestial phenomena) and then on the rise of leisure.
Rybczynski provides many interesting facts: where the names of the days come from; how the Depression led to shorter workdays; that Henry Ford was one of the early advocates of shorter work hours because he foresaw that workers would be better consumers if they had more free time, etc.
It also raises several fascinating arguments: that thanks to automation and specialization in the workplace, most of us probably require greater skills in our leisure pursuits than in our jobs (one inevitably thinks of Chuck's 4 handicap); that the recent increase in folks average hours of work is a result of the rise of leisure, most 40 hour jobs will pay for life's necessities, the increased hours pay for vacation houses, country club memberships, boats, etc..
It all makes for a very diverting & thought-provoking entertainment.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Brian Watkins VINE VOICE on February 26, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rybczynkski has a wonderful gift for exploring the seemingly ordinary. Why should a week have seven days? Haven't we always had Saturday and Sunday off? What about ancient civilizations using other calendars?

All of these questions and more are answered. However, the book is recommended not because of the answers, but because it evidences the joy of scholarship--the pleasure of researching and discovering forgotten truths that illuminate present practice. I wish my High School teachers had recommended books such as this as Rybczynski demonstrates that everything has a story worth knowing and that our modern world is based upon a real foundation of historical facts.

And, besides all that, it made me tremendously grateful to live in a world where we have a chance to live independently of our professions and occupations, where we have the ability to spend time on private pursuits.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Darren Rushing (rushing@tstar.net) on February 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
In an overall sense, this is an outstanding book. Rybczynski, has an ability to force the reader to think about life situations normally taken for granted. In, Waiting for the Weekend, the author looks at several angles concerning the ideas of the "weekend" and "leisure". After reading this book, I will never look at leisure the way I did in the past. This is not the type of book to read if the reader does not want to be challenged. Rybczynski's writing style is thorough, witty, and informative. This is a worthwhile book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Justin Playfair on May 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a transitional account of the period when agrarian people migrated toward industrialization, and the problems encountered in leaving the seasonal aspects of day/night to the adjustment to the seven day week.
It is entertaining to say the least as we learn about the Early closing association, what is a lushington? How this all began and how shopkeepers and clerks were much worse off than factory workers. This gets rid of the myths of the Dickensian sweat shop and shows how workers, other than poverty stricken widows with children, countered the demands of factory management by "disappearing" after payday and returning to work again four days later. Also, suggested reading -George H. Watson's article on "The Decline of Leisure"
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