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Response to Review no. 522

I wish to thank Dr Peniston-Bird for her careful and generally positive review of my book. Only a few comments need to be made in response.

It was gratifying to note that the reviewer and I share a belief in the importance of tourism as a topic both in its own right and as one able to shed light on larger historiographical issues. Yet, while Peniston-Bird asserts that defending my topic – tourism in the Third Reich – is ‘hardly necessary’, I am still often asked to explain and even excuse my choice to colleagues, conference participants, new acquaintances, etc. Thus, the ‘defensive justifications’ are, I think, still warranted. On a minor note, the reviewer describes only one of my chapters as dealing with commercial tourism specifically, when, in fact, the entire book focuses on commercial tourism. The chapter to which she refers explores how commercial tourism under Hitler interacted with, and influenced, its non-commercial counterpart, Kraft durch Freude.

I take Peniston-Bird’s point that my book could have delved more deeply into individual tourists’ experiences. While I do utilise guestbook entries, souvenir albums, thank-you letters and published memoirs, in addition to other sources, hearing more of the tourists’ own voices would certainly have contributed a further dimension to the story.

I greatly appreciate the respect Peniston-Bird shows for my work in this review. Her summaries of my key findings and arguments are thorough, balanced and thoughtful. She highlights many of the same details I also found intriguing when I first discovered them, from the Schiller House’s removal of the volume by Moses Mendelssohn to the establishment of the Hermann Esser Research Society in September 1939. I look forward to reading more of Peniston-Bird’s own work on interwar tourism in Austria, since we clearly possess similar convictions about the value of tourism history.