Thanks to Maria for the guest book review!
Airstream: America’s World Traveler
by Patrick Foster, 2016
This coffee-table-sized book is a quick read and full of pictures from the Airstream archives. I didn’t know much about Airstream before reading this book, except that I associate the travel trailer company with outdoor adventure and road trips. The book is a history of the company from its founding in the 1930s, through what happened to it in WWII (the signature aluminum was needed for airplanes – not luxury trailers), and subsequent decades to the present. The history stops about 2015. We learned a little bit about the founder, Wally Byam, and other management executives involved throughout the years, but not as much as I expected.
Although it was a fun, interesting read for me, the book could have used an editor; there are several obvious typos throughout, the parts that were most interesting to me were not elaborated on, and there is potentially inaccurate information. For instance, at one point the book casually mentions that an Airstream was used for atomic bomb testing and was undamaged aside from a broken window. This seems like it would make a good story, but one sentence is all the book gave. So I looked it up on my own and discovered that, for testing purposes, a fake mini town was built in Nevada and included an Airstream and other travel trailer brands stationed 10,500 ft from Ground Zero of the bomb; the Airstream was undamaged aside from two broken windows and a small dent in the back. So, take the book with possibly a grain of salt. The author did use current Airstream employees and the Airstream archives to write the book, so I am sure most of it is fine. It does read a little bit like a love story to the brand, with statements accompanying photos along the likes of, “It doesn’t get any better than this!”, but it was still a fun book to read and to look at the photos of Airstreams all over the world and while under construction.