NOTE: Book reviews featured here are “reprints” from the SCA Journal, both recently published and from our archives. Not all titles may still be in print, or if in print, offered at the price or in the format listed.

Isaly’s: Chipped Ham, Klondikes, and Other Tales

Isaly’s: Chipped Ham, Klondikes, and Other Tales
By Brian Butko
Pittsburgh: Senator John Heinz History Center, 2021
Softcover, 148 pages, $19.95
Available at

Reviewed by Harold Aurand Jr.

Brian Butko’s new book, Isaly’s: Chipped Ham, Klondikes, and Other Tales from Behind the Counter is aimed at people who remember Isaly’s glory days. Isaly’s (rhymes with “fries, please”) dairy business started in eastern Ohio, established a chain of stores in the surrounding area and quickly rose to become the world’s largest chain of dairy/deli stores.

GOOGIE MODERN: Architectural Drawings of Armet Davis Newlove

GOOGIE MODERN: Architectural Drawings of Armet
By Michael Murphy With Text by Alan Hess and Photography by Jens Lucking
Angel City Press, 2022
Hardcover, 206 pages, Retail: $50

Reviewed by Heather David

GOOGIE MODERN is a celebration of both art and the built environment. But perhaps, more importantly, the book is a tribute to a highly innovative architectural firm that helped define a period in U.S. history. The architecture of Armet, Davis, and Newlove brought the seemingly impossible to life. The firm’s innovative designs were created for mass consumption and captured an optimism for a future that seemed limitless.

The American Highway: The History and Culture of Roads

The American Highway: The History and Culture of Roads
By William Kaszynski
Jeferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2000
Softcover, 237 pages

Reviewed by Ralph S. Wilcox

William Kaszynski’s book is a must-have for anyone interested in the history of American roads or its businesses, providing readers with a scenic ride along American roads, including side trips exploring roadside establishments.

66 on 66: A Photographer’s Journey

66 on 66 Book Cover66 on 66: A Photographer’s Journey
By Terrence Moore
Tucson, Ariz.: Schaffner Press, 2018
144 pages; 10 x 11.5 inches, $27.95 hardcover

Reviewed by Douglas C. Towne

Terrence Moore is a talented photographer, and his gifted eye is apparent in 66 on 66, a coffee table book that is his latest contribution to the lore of the Mother Road. The book’s 66 images are more than a display of Moore’s photographic prowess, however. They synergistically work together to create what contributor Clark Worswick describes as “a memorial to a vanished time and place.”

Florida Roadside Attractions History

Florida Roadside Attractions History: The Complete Guide to Florida Tourist Attractions Before Disney
By Ken Breslauer
Gaithersburg, Md.: Signature Book Printing, 2018
208 pages; $29.00 hardcover

Reviewed by Ralph S. Wilcox

Three years ago, my parents retired to Florida from Pennsylvania. They, like many other Northerners, fled south for warmer weather and to escape the never-ending snows that always seemed to blanket their area. It was for these very same reasons that thousands of tourists flocked to Florida every year beginning in the late 19th century.

No Vacancy

No Vacancy BookNo Vacancy: The Rise, Demise, and Reprise of America’s MotelsBy Mark Okrant, illustrations by Laura Hodgdon
Concord, New Hampshire: Plaidswede Publishing, 2013
138 pages, illus., $15.95 paper

Keith A. Sculle

Author Mark Okrant has launched readers on another nostalgic journey where small roadside lodgings serviced travelers overnight. In the introduction, he states of this book and its predecessor, Sleeping Alongside the Road (2006) they offer “a nostalgic look at the American motel, an American icon that is indelibly etched in the memories of nearly half of all Americans age forty and older” (p. ix).

Lakefront Anonymous, Chicago’s Unknown Art Gallery

Lakefront Anonymous, Chicago’s Unknown Art Gallery
By William Swislow (text and photographs) and Aron Packer (photographs)
Chicago:, 2021
Softcover, 160 pages, $40

Reviewed by Joseph Marlin

Who would have thought there would be a book about graffiti and vernacular stone carvings on Chicago’s lakefront? Not I, and I live here! But William Swislow, an SCA board member, has spent three decades photographing and documenting these works typically created by untrained, anonymous carvers.

Neon: A Light History

Neon: A Light History
By Dydia DeLyser and Paul Greenstein
San Francisco: Giant Orange Press, 2021
Softcover, 88 pages, $25

Reviewed by Douglas C. Towne

There’s a new book on neon signs that excels at, in the authors’ words, bringing “the light of the past into the present.” The cleverly titled Neon: A Light History beautifully and meticulously illuminates the evolution of this electrifying advertising medium. But that’s only the start. The text goes a step further and connects neon signs with the larger economic and societal forces that impacted them, placing them in the crux of American history.