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Mobile Mansions: Taking "Home Sweet Home" on the Road Paperback – March 3, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Mobile Mansions takes you on a captivating exploration of homes on wheels-everything from early diminutive camp cars to modern-day diesel-belching, lumbering leviathans complete with saunas, balconies, and gourmet kitchens. From the eclectic to the exquisite, the luxurious to the rare, this detailed RV guide showcases the diversity of some of the most lovingly restored RVs on the road today.
In this reference for pop culture connoisseurs as well as RV-loving enthusiasts, Keister documents an amazing range of vehicles, including small camp cars from the 1920s, house cars from the 1930s, campers from the 1950s, and finally modern-day motorhomes that first appeared in the 1960s. Well-known brands like Winnebago, GMC, and Travco are featured as well as one-of-a-kind vehicles like the Lamsteed Kampcar, built by Anheuser Busch, the Zeppelin House Car, and Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion car.
Also included in this ultimate guide to RV nostalgia are descriptions, as well as a sampling of photos, of the RVs of cultural icons: Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Mae West, Howard Hughes, John Madden, the Partridge Family, Ken Kesey, The Who, and Barbie. Each had a home on wheels-be it an old converted school bus, massive RV cruiser, or elegant house car.
Entertaining and informative, Keister offers a fun-to-read, informative history of the recreational vehicle illustrated with luscious full-color images, rare vintage photographs, and a sampling of period advertisements. Step inside a wide variety of mobile mansions and feel yourself swept up in a wave of wistfulness, rediscovered adventuresome, and a longing to hit the road.
Douglas Keister has photographed more than twenty-five critically acclaimed books. He also writes and illustrates magazine articles and contributes photographs and essays to dozens of magazines, newspapers, books, calendars, posters, and greeting cards worldwide. Some of his books include Classic Cottages, Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography, Ready to Roll, Red Tile Style, Silver Palaces, Victorian Glory, and Courtyards. Keister lives in Chico, California.

About the Author

Chico, California-based photographer Douglas Keister has photographed twenty-two award-winning, critically acclaimed books. His seventeen books on architecture include four books on Victorian homes (Daughter's of Painted Ladies, Painted Ladies Revisited, America's Painted Ladies and Victorian Glory); three books on bungalow homes (The Bungalow, Inside the Bungalow and Outside the Bungalow), a book on 1920s whimsical homes (Storybook Style) a book about cemetery art and architecture (Going Out in Style), a book on Spanish architecture, (Red Tile Style), six books on bungalow details and Classic Cottages, that will be published by Gibbs Smith Publisher in the Spring of 2004. Keister photographed and wrote an award winning children's book (Fernando's Gift), has two monographs of his personal work (Black Rock and Driftwood Whimsy), a book on classic travel trailers, (Ready to Roll) and a book on cemetery symbolism, Stories in Stone: The Complete Illustrated Guide to Cemetery Symbolism, that will be published by Gibbs Smith Publisher in the Spring of 2004. His wealth of books on architecture has earned him the title, "America's most noted photographer of historic architecture."

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Gibbs Smith; 1 edition (March 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586857738
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586857738
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,138,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"RVers are some of the friendliest people on earth," writes Doug Keister in his new pop culture history, "Mobile Mansions: Taking 'Home Sweet Home' On the Road" ($24.95 in large size paperback from Gibbs Smith, Publisher). "Unlike the rest of us who are permanently or temporarily moored in our bolted-down communities, they take the bumps in the road of life a little more serenely." And none are friendlier than those who own vintage and classic RVs, the mobile conveyances celebrated in Keister's book.

Replete with 200 color photographs, most taken by Keister himself on location, the book explores not only the history of the recreational vehicle but allows the reader to see inside courtesy of the author's crisp, clear interior shots. From Camp Dearborn, Mich., to Quartzsite, Ariz. (with a quick stop in Chico), Keister documents the development of what used to be called "autocamping."

Autocamping was popularized by Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone (of tire fame), along with an unlikely companion, a naturalist named John Burroughs. After about 1915 the group called themselves "the Vagabonds," attracting newspaper attention everywhere they went. The group was not exactly rustic -- Firestone brought his butler along to help him better appreciate "roughing it."

Later on, the "Tin Can Tourists" organization was established in 1919; they "took their name from the tin can provisions that they subsisted on and, some say, also from the Tin Lizzies many of them drove."

The Great Depression and better roadways put Americans on the road. It was the golden age of the travel trailer.
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Format: Paperback
Interesting and informative especially for an RVer. I especially liked the historical progression leading from Gypsies to today. I also appreciated a look at some of the more unique campgrounds like Quartzsite and the Slabs.

But I wish he had more coverage of modren travel trailers. They make up a large part of today's RV sales and they shouldn't be writen off yet.
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Format: Paperback
The BEST review anyone can give a Photo themed book is to reference the pictures and allow them to truly illustrate the subject matter. Beyond his articulate prose, Mr. Keister speaks so lovingly to the subjects of this book with his images. Seldom do I enjoy BOTH the photographs and the text of a book...... Congragulations to Douglas Keister on a well-researched and beautifully photographed history of truly vintage mansions on wheels!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I liked the book but there were not enough interior pictures of the vans and rvs. It was hard to see the details on many of the pictures and I couldn't enlarge enough of the pictures. The title is misleading. You think you are going to be able to see details of the rvs but you will not. It is mostly a book about the history of different brands of rvs. I was disappointed.
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If your into vintage R.V. stuff this book has a ton of great pictures and history to check out. You can see that this was a labor of love the way it was put together and the resource list was really informative.
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Having worked in the very high end luxury coach industry for many years it was pleasure to get a look at the real grass roots of "Mobile Mansions". Very impressed with the research that went into this book. Beautiful photos, well written, an enjoyable read.
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Format: Paperback
Take a nostalgia trip down through the years of motor homes. Of course in the early days they were called motor homes, instead they started with wagons such as those in cowboy movies and in the Gypsy wagons (still to be found out here in the west in use by sheepherders). But soon after the advent of the automobile came specialized bodies that had tents, beds, even a church.

This book begins with pictures from the past, but quickly turns to new photographs taken by the author. Most of these are of vintage vehicles that have been painstakingly restored by their new owners.

There are also a good number of vehicles that might be called home made, but these are home made with style. My own favorite was one made from a surplus Air Force crash truck. Beautiful, but it probably only gets three miles per gallon.

This is a beautiful book of four color pictures that would be at home on a coffee table or in your own RV.
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This book is an important part of my classic RV library, along with 2 other vintage RV books by the same author,"Ready to Roll" (my favorite classic RV book) and "Silver Palaces".
While Ready to Roll gives you some history and shows the evolution of American trailers, this book focuses on motor homes, including some home made versions and strange versions from other countries that you will not see on our roads. This book is smaller than Ready to Roll, at 200 photos instead of 300, but it is quite interesting. The big brands are also here, Airstream, GMC, Winnebago, The smart layout of the book is fun and engaging, and the photos are big & beautiful and done with a love for the subject, like his other RV books. There are also antique photos of old RV's as well as nostalgic promotional material from the manufacturer's. I have a soft spot for the older restored RV's myself, and they are faithfully included.
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