I have to admit, I’m not much of a camper. My idea of camping is a poorly stocked mini-bar. That being said, I think Airstream campers are cool. Airstreams are retro-cool and high-tech all at the same time. They have been called the Rolls-Royce of campers and after reading Patrick R. Foster’s new book Airstream : America’s World Traveler, I have an even higher opinion of these shimmering silver land-yachts.
Eighty-five years of Airstream history is covered in this book, bringing to life the story of Wally Byam, camping enthusiast, inventor, salesman, founder of the company that would create an American icon. Wally was more than just a businessman out to make a fortune, he was a dreamer. Perhaps that is what the world needs more of today, dreamers. Wally was a dreamer with big ideas and the strength and fortitude to get things done.
Wally knew the best way to test his product was in the field and on the road. The United States is a big country, but not big enough for Wally Byam. Leading caravans of Airstream owners on epic trips through Mexico, South America, Europe and across Africa, Wally became legendary amongst loyal Airstream owners in the fifties.
Battle-tested on the road and perfected in the company shop, Airstream trailers were simply the best engineered and efficient trailers produced. From its humble beginnings in a small shop in Southern California, the company stayed in business through the great depression, came back after World War II, survived the gas crunch and the recession to remain a high-quality, respected product to this day. Airstream owners are among the most loyal and enthusiastic people in the camping community, and for good reason.
Airstream: America’s World Traveler is delight to read and has a trailer-load of fantastic factory photos to enjoy. The author was able to access the factory archives to fill the book with great images and interesting insight into the company’s history. A must read for any camper fan or lover of Americana.
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