cover of book
 

Thanksgiving: The Biography of an American Holiday
by James W. Baker and Peter J. Gomes
University of New Hampshire Press, 2009
eISBN: 978-1-58465-874-0 | Paper: 978-1-58465-801-6
Library of Congress Classification GT4975.B33 2009
Dewey Decimal Classification 394.264909

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY
ABOUT THIS BOOK
In this, the first in-depth study of the most American of holidays, James Baker sweeps away lingering myths and misconceptions to show how this celebration day was born and grew to be an essential part of our national spirit. Thanksgiving: The Biography of an American Holiday opens with an overview of the popular mythos of the holiday before discussing its possible religious and cultural precedents. This classic Yankee holiday is examined in historical and contemporary detail that embraces everything from proclamations, sermons, and local and regional traditions to family reunions, turkey dinners, and recipes. Thanksgiving’s evolving face is illustrated with charming and often revealing period prints that chart our changing attitudes: the influence of Victorian sentiment in Thanksgiving’s development, Progressive utilitarianism, intellectual “debunking,” patriotic wartime reclamation, and 1960s-era protest. Thanksgiving remains controversial up to the present day, as Mayflower descendants, Native Americans, and commercial exploiters compete for the American public’s opinion of the holiday’s contemporary significance and its future status. This is an intelligent and illuminating introduction to a beloved holiday and a fascinating cultural history of America and Americana.

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