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.
Moby-Duck: the true story of 28,800 bath toys lost at sea and of the beachcombers, oceanographers and fools, including the author, who went in search of them
A revelatory tale of science, adventure, and modern myth.
When the writer Donovan Hohn heard of the mysterious loss of thousands of bath toys at sea, he figured he would interview a few oceanographers, talk to a few beachcombers, and read up on Arctic science and geography. But questions can be like ocean currents: wade in too far, and they carry you away. Hohn’s accidental odyssey pulls him into the secretive world of shipping conglomerates, the daring work of Arctic researchers, the lunatic risks of maverick sailors, and the shadowy world of Chinese toy factories.
Moby-Duck is a journey into the heart of the sea and an adventure through science, myth, the global economy, and some of the worst weather imaginable. With each new discovery, Hohn learns of another loose thread, and with each successive chase, he comes closer to understanding where his castaway quarry comes from and where it goes. In the grand tradition of Tony Horwitz and David Quammen, Moby-Duck is a compulsively readable narrative of whimsy and curiosity.
Noted campaign scholars James W. Ceaser, Andrew E. Busch, and John J. Pitney, Jr. take readers along on the longest, most expensive, and in many ways most dramatic presidential campaign in American history. Drawing on their extensive knowledge of political history and deep resources of current political science, the authors capture the astonishing twists of fate, uncanny detours, and remarkable surprises that made the 2008 election truly historic.
With President George W. Bush’s approval ratings at record lows, the 2008 election was a contest that Democrats were predicted to win. And with Barack Obama’s victory over John McCain, they did. But it was the highly unlikely journey to this likely destination that set this presidential election apart from others.
As they have every four years since 1992, James W. Ceaser and Andrew E. Busch once again provide the most comprehensive and authoritative account of the presidential election. Joined on this book by John J. Pitney, Jr., the authors chronicle the epic journey—culminating in the election of the first African American president—of a group of extraordinary candidates and a nation.
Imagine Garth Hale’s surprise when he’s accidentally zapped to the spirit world by Frank Gallows, a washed-out ghost wrangler. Suddenly Garth finds he has powers the ghosts don’t have, and he’s stuck in a world run by the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, who would use Garth’s newfound abilities to rule the ghostly kingdom. When Garth meets Cecil, his grandfather’s ghost, the two search for a way to get Garth back home, and nearly lose hope until Frank Gallows shows up to fix his mistake.