The Lost World of the Great Spas

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9780060145842: The Lost World of the Great Spas

During the nineteenth century and right up to World War I, the royalty and nobility of Europe, the members of high society, and the merely rich flocked annually to the sumptuous hotels and restaurants, the casinos and racetracks of towns like Bath and Brighton; Baden-Baden and Karlsbad; Saratoga Springs (New York) and Hot Springs (Virginia), USA. They came to "take the cure" - to recuperate from the effects of high living the rest of the year - and to see and be seen. Each watering place had is chronique scandaleuse. Glamour, intrigue, high fashion; theater, opera, ballet; music hall artistes and brass bands; espionage and diplomacy were as much a part of life as "taking the waters" of the mineral springs or hot sulphur springs, which were said to have health-giving and even rejuvenating effects. Today the golden age of the spa as a social Mecca is past, but many of them have adapted to more modern medical requirements by developing health centers and sports centers, and providing up-to-date treatments for stress and other "modern" diseases. Though the glamour is gone, the waters are still an essential part of the cure. In this beautifully illustrated book, Joseph Wechsberg takes an evocative look at the great spas of Europe and America, past and present, exploring their colorful histories and lively reputations, and telling the stories of the famous people who visited them and made their names.

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