Thanksgiving: The Biography of an American Holiday

Front Cover
UPNE, 2009 - History - 273 pages
5 Reviews
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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Review: Thanksgiving: The Biography of an American Holiday (Revisiting New England)

User Review  - Goodreads

Just written too dry for me. But amazing detailed information! Just too much for me, I was board a lot , If this book where half in size and just hitting the highlights would have been more of what I was looking for. Read full review

Review: Thanksgiving: The Biography of an American Holiday (Revisiting New England)

User Review  - Goodreads

A bit dry, but overall a very informative book about Thanksgiving and the history surrounding this holiday. Read full review


ForewordThanksgiving in America
IntroductionA Thanksgiving Detective Story
Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Appendix 3

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

JAMES W. BAKER was the director of research at Plimoth Plantation for many years and has acted as an authority for numerous Thanksgiving Day exhibits, articles, newscasts, and children s books.

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