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234 × 156 mm
344 pages
48 illustrations
13 Aug 2018

Inventing American Tradition From the Mayflower to Cinco de Mayo Jack David Eller

What really happened on the first Thanksgiving? How did a British drinking song become the national anthem of the United States? And what makes Superman so darned American? Every tradition, even the noblest and most cherished, has a history, nowhere more so than in the usa, which was born with a relative indifference, if not hostility, to the past. Most Americans would be surprised to learn just how recent – and controversial – the origins of their traditions are, as well as how those origins are often related to the trauma of the Civil War and to fears for American identity stemming from immigration and socialism.

Inventing American Tradition explores a wide range of beloved traditions, including political symbols, holidays, lifestyles and fictional characters, and looks at the people who conceived of and adapted them into the forms familiar to Americans – and the innumerable people around the world influenced by American culture – today.

What emerges is the realization that all traditions are invented by particular people at particular times for particular reasons, and that the process of ‘traditioning’ is forever ongoing.

EXTRACT: to read an extract from the book please click here.

‘Jack David Eller’s lively and engaging Inventing American Tradition recognizes that every nation develops invented traditions that bind its citizens. Creatively combining history, literature, and folklore, Eller demonstrates that this is gloriously true in the American republic. From our National Anthem to Mickey Mouse to Coca-Cola to Thanksgiving, we could not consider ourselves a nation without sharing these traditions. This fascinating volume explains how each of these symbols shapes what it means to be a patriotic American.’ – Gary Alan Fine, co-author of Whispers on the Color Line: Rumor and Race in America

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Jack David Eller is a former Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Community College of Denver. He is the author of numerous books, including Cultural Anthropology: Global Forces, Local Lives (2016), Culture and Diversity in the United States (2015) and Cruel Creeds, Virtuous Violence: Religious Violence across Culture and History (2010).