The vacation is written into our middle-class contract. We enter the workforce to earn money to squirrel away, but with the redemptive belief that there will be an opportunity for escape. Originally a luxury only for the elite, by the mid-19th century the vacation was tugged down a few class notches. Amid a growing religious and medical suspicion that perhaps our Puritan industriousness was turning against us, the vacation gained a prescriptive urgency. The beach wasn’t a luxury – it was a necessity. Read more: Daily Book Review: ‘The Last Good Paradise’ – The Michigan Daily.