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Camp Camp: Where Fantasy Island Meets Lord of the Flies

Camp Camp: Where Fantasy Island Meets Lord of the Flies

  • ISBN13: 9780307382627
  • Condition: New
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Dear Former Campers,

Do you recall your glory days at summer camp as some of the best months of your life? Was your camp experience


When you think about camp, what are your best memories?


Rating: (out of 11 reviews)

List Price: $ 24.95

Price: $ 2.99

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5 Responses to “Camp Camp: Where Fantasy Island Meets Lord of the Flies”

  1. Jesse Kornbluth says:

    Review by Jesse Kornbluth for Camp Camp: Where Fantasy Island Meets Lord of the Flies
    The kid freaked out, ran off the bus. Much screaming from other kids — it was time to leave. The kid’s parents told their daughter they’d follow the bus — a four-hour drive — and if, at the destination, she still wanted to come home, they’d be right there for her. She agreed. Returned to the bus. It pulled out. The parents drove straight home.

    The destination: sleepaway camp.

    Which is described by the authors of this 300-page picture-and-text romp as “the definitive formative experience for our generation.”

    Ah….summer camp in the Reagan-blissed 1980s. If you were there, it’s just far enough away that nostalgia can creep in. But then, I’m told, camps are eternal, each with a self-renewing culture that binds campers across generations.

    “Camp was culture that had a place for everyone in it — the beautiful and the athletic shone, but if you had neat handwriting, or were the king of the archery range, or were a masterful pianist, you could find your niche,” says co-author Roger Bennett. “And camp is a place where everyone gets a second chance to be the kind of kid they always wanted to be. Everyone gets a fresh start to define themselves, free of the shackles of their hometown reputations. If you longed to be a raconteur, a ladies’ man, a dodgeball expert, you could reinvent yourself with confidence.”

    Sounds appealing. But back up the train. Did the man say culture?

    — In their cabin, some girls found “somebody’s ginormous box of winged maxi pads.” On one, they wrote in red Sharpie, “Sara, this is your period speaking to you.” They placed that maxipad — “crotch-up” — in a pair of Sara’s undies in her cubby.

    — You know about “trucking”? You wait till a kid’s asleep, then shine a flashlight on his head and yell “TRUCK” to wake him. “He would freak out, thinking he was in the middle of the highway.”

    And six varieties of wedgies, warm bowls of water for a sleeping camper’s hand so he’ll wet the bed, and much more. I can see why one of the authors recalls a correspondent saying, “Only the two summer months were in color and the rest of Jewish life was lived in black and white” — the freedom from parental oppression is palpable as teen lust in these pages.

    As for the Jewish reference, goyim are on notice: This book is heavily weighted toward the tribe. Tens of thousands of American camp vets sent photos and stories to the authors — it’s telling that the bully story is told by A.J. Jacobs, who went on to write The Year of Living Biblically. And for every Sloane Crossley, there seem to be a dozen Simmy Kunstavitzs. Did only Jews go to camp? (And did their parents all drive black Mercedes or Cadillacs?) For that matter, did the kids at Camp Tel Yehudah really write and perform a stage version of an Elie Wiesel Holocaust memoir… to the music of Billy Joel?

    But some things are universal: Food fights. Color wars. Legendary counselors. Constipation. Teased hair. Two-day romances. Flag raising. Letters home. Day trips. Overnights. A camp show with a corny title, like “Puttin’ on the Hits”. And that heartbreaking ceremony on the last night: pushing mini-rafts dotted with lighted candles onto the pond.

    All that and more is admirably covered here. And the images are yearbook quality: a collection of letters, pictures and souvenirs. Never change. See you next year. But, please, with better hair, okay, kids?

    “Camp Camp” will be catnip for those who still have their camp t-shirts, go to reunions, send their kids where they went. If you never went to summer camp — and I’m raising my hand here — it’s a shocker, an eye-opener on the scale of your first R-rated experience. Which, come to think of it, may have come a few years earlier for kids who went to camp.

  2. A reviewer says:

    Review by A reviewer for Camp Camp: Where Fantasy Island Meets Lord of the Flies
    Unlike the other reviewer, I spent 8 glorious years at Camp Akiba in the picturesque Poconos, and my only complaint about this book is that our camp isn’t featured much. Despite this, I devoured every page of this wonderful trip down memory lane… from the big hair and big socks to the mix tapes to the rituals of Color War, Visiting Day, and floating our farewell candles on the lake. Every moment of the drama, the hysterical laughter, and the idea of “camping” in the materialistic 80′s is captured and given the treatment it deserves. The strong sense of nostalgia that I think most campers have spills out on each page– sometimes even in rainbow bubble letters– and it is clear that this book was a labor of love. If you went to camp in the 80′s, it is like spending a few hours with an old friend …until that big bus pulls out of the parking lot and takes you back to reality. HIGHLY recommended!!

  3. Stephen Thoemmes says:

    Review by Stephen Thoemmes for Camp Camp: Where Fantasy Island Meets Lord of the Flies
    I’ve had the life lesson of being a camp counselor the year we landed on the moon. I was 18 and frankly didn’t know what I was doing there. Soon it became a whole different world. The boys stayed with us for at least a week at a time in an isolated canyon north of Los Angeles. It wasn’t just ‘Lord of the Flies’, but a bizarre comedy of naivete, wonder, longing, petty fights, and a situation where the loonies were definitely running the asylum.

    Looking through this book everything that happened so long ago popped back into my head as if it were recent memory.

    We had our cook, who smoked while stirring the huge pots of something. He was rumored to be a cop killer. His assistant looked like a Hells Angel, but much dirtier. They retained their jobs despite the random cases of food poisoning. Perhaps it was our abject fear of them.

    The mid-summer septic tank “explosion”. It forced the closure of 2 cabins and the double bunking of kids. Madness. The ‘creek’ flowed for the rest of the Summer. It may have been Mother Earth recoiling from our behavior.

    The midnight swims after the campers were sound asleep, the stunning nights under the stars, being outdoors for 3 months. No TV, no iPods, no Walkmans, just the rare radio. Ahh.

    Rumors kept us busier than middle-school girls. The whispers of trysts and the obvious romances, the commando raids into the kitchen to steal cigarettes, the cook and his mate teaching me the fine art of Bourbon drinking. That did wonders for my street cred. And, of course, the pranks pulled not on the campers but on each other.

    Then came our education on the variety of backgrounds, characters, and families of our boys. All were under-privileged, most from broken homes, some with psychological deficits, that just baffled us, and the rest just dirt poor. One of my charges was a black youth from South East L.A. He couldn’t read. So I would read letters that his mama wrote to him. I totally lost it when she taped a dime to one of her letters so that he had something to spend.

    The saddest part was when the boys went home. I had the 12 & 13 year olds. It never failed, they all were bawling as they left. A surprising few continued to write letters to me for years.

    This book’s subtitle should have been the title, small quibble. I say this because the stunts we pulled or hazing that was inflicted, seemed to us unique. Now I learn they are universal. Oh man, the pranks. It is a wonder no one was seriously injured. One such activity was to raid the archery locker and shoot arrows at each other. Real arrows, real people targets. Wish I owned a camera back then. Better yet this book makes me wish that I had been a camper. Excellent book, die-laughing photos, and a great experience. Enjoy.

  4. Tostitos! Flipmode! says:

    Review by Tostitos! Flipmode! for Camp Camp: Where Fantasy Island Meets Lord of the Flies
    “Camp Camp” is the ultimate camp book. As soon as you open up this book you are instantly brought back onto that yellow school bus as it passes under the large wooden, “Welcome to Camp” sign and you pull onto the bunk line. Those were the days where your counselors could act as goofy and foolish as they wanted and yet they were the coolest and biggest people on the planet. You could be the hero of the day because you won dodgeball for your team against the older kids and earned the nickname of, “Dodge” for the rest of the summer…only at camp!

    I am a serial camper, having attended and worked at several camps mentioned in the book: Camp Danbee ( , Mah-Kee-Nac, Winadu, Ramaquois, Winaukee, and Cobbossee. It was an instant pleasure to read excerpts given by campers from my former camps. This book reminded me of how much camp becomes a part of who you are and how much you miss it when you have left.

  5. D. Grad says:

    Review by D. Grad for Camp Camp: Where Fantasy Island Meets Lord of the Flies
    Having just sent my oldest child off to her first year of sleepaway camp, it was very tempting to stow away on the bus and relive my camp experiences of the 1970s. But with this book, I don’t have to, and it’s a whole lot cheaper than actually going to sleepaway camp. While I must admit that I did contribute a few photos and a couple of anecdotes, I had no idea of the scope of this book until I actually read it–it’s as funny as successfully short-sheeting a counselor’s bed (and then getting the kid in the bunk that everyone hates blamed for it). There’s a depth of depravity here that even I’d never expected–it’s so brilliantly outrageous that I practically peed in my pants I was laughing so hard. My wife thought I’d completely lost my marbles–but she never had the camp experience. This book was lovingly compiled by a couple of truly demented (in a good way) folks, and they have captured the spirit of summer camp in a way that I thought only I remembered. Obviously, there are many others out there–and they should all read this book. If not, there’s a purple nurple out there with your name on it…

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