Culture and Customs of the United States [Two Volumes] [2 volumes]

Overview

American life and culture is truly unique in that it was born from many other cultures around the world. When immigrants migrated to the Land of Opportunity, they brought with them pieces of their own heritage: foods, religions, holidays, festivals, music, and art, just to name a few. Through time, these customs have developed into what we now know as American life. Explore how even within the US, various cultures and customs differ from New England to the Midwest to the Pacific. Discover how many religions are ...

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Culture and Customs of the United States (Culture and Customs of North America Series)

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Overview

American life and culture is truly unique in that it was born from many other cultures around the world. When immigrants migrated to the Land of Opportunity, they brought with them pieces of their own heritage: foods, religions, holidays, festivals, music, and art, just to name a few. Through time, these customs have developed into what we now know as American life. Explore how even within the US, various cultures and customs differ from New England to the Midwest to the Pacific. Discover how many religions are practiced all over the country, and how each sect differs in its celebration. Learn how gender plays an important role in American society, and how things have changed and progressed in the past century. Readers will learn about American holidays-religious, federal, and even those fabricated by Hallmark and television! Sports, leisure activities, and fashion also play a major role in American culture, as discussed in this all-encompassing work. Discover how American cuisine has evolved from other cultures, such as Italian, Greek, Mexican, Chinese, Indian, and West Africa, and how each region has its own indigenous dishes, including New England clam chowder, Southern jambalaya, and Mid-western lutefisk. Contemporary and classic literature is also discussed, along with the evolution of poetry. Readers will learn about the development of mass media, as well as the growth of cinema and films from the first silent film to today's popular blockbuster trilogy Pirates of the Caribbean. Music and dance are also discussed in detail, covering the New York Philharmonic to Woodstock. Contemporary art and architecture is discussed as well as types of housing across all the regions of the U.S. This unique two-volume addition to the Culture and Customs of the World series gives high school students, both national and international, the chance to examine the United States from the outside in. The mosaic of American culture comes to life in this expansive yet detailed study of what makes the United States a complex blend of customs and traditions.

Each volume in this comprehensive two-volume study offers chapters that detail how American life was born and how it has grown, covering the history of customs as well as how traditions are now celebrated in New England, the South, the Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, and the Southwest, as well as Alaska and Hawaii. Narrative chapters include the following:

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This engaging set covers well-trodden ground, but its quick factual manner sets it apart from other works. It is an excellent addition to high school and community college libraries supporting lower-level classes in U.S. history. It could also be used to support international student programs at higher-level institutions."

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Library Journal

"This wide-ranging, clearly written work covers religion, sociology, sports, domestic life, language arts, technology, architecture, and history. Each thematic chapter is further divided into topical areas, many of a geographical nature (performing arts in the Northwest, for example). This subdivision, along with the comprehensive index, will assist researchers. . . . While most students will initially use this set strictly for reports, it is likely that they will be intrigued enough to continue reading."

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School Library Journal

"[T]he articles in these two volumes take the reader on a historical as well as a present day overview of the shaping of American culture that goes beyond what appears to be a homogenous society. What becomes evident is the United States' regional and ethnic diversity in most things--from religion to cuisine, from art and architecutre to leisure practices. . . . Included in each volume are a chronology, appendixes listing important religious and traditional events, a bibliography, and an index. (Reviewed with Culture and Customs of Nicaragua)."

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Multicultural Review

"Since American life developed from a mix of cultures from around the world, this two-volume set examines the wide variety of practices and people in the United States. . . . This set is a welcome addition to most libraries. Recommended."

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Library Media Connection

"Professional historian Shearer edits this brief, readable, impartial, yet celebratory two-volume reference. Part of the Culture and Customs of North America series, it could easily fit into the circulating collection. It provides a glimpse into . . . contemporary U.S. culture and the context through which to understand it. . . . Recommended. School, public and undergraduate libraries; lower-level undergraduates and general readers."

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Choice

VOYA - Ruth Paget
This reference set promises to provide a context for understanding the United States and its culture. Contributors' misinformation, bias toward minorities, and dull format, however, make it unacceptable for teens. Factual mistakes include placing Pennsylvanian cooking in the Midwestern section and referring to fashion designer Stephen Burrows as "Burrows" and "Burroughs" in the same paragraph. Poor scholarship appears when a contributor cites as a source Adherents.com, which flashes banner advertisements for politicians over its collection of statistics from primary sources. The contributor should have listed the primary source itself. Inferior scholarship crops up again when an entry states that children who receive daycare are apt to be "aggressive, assertive, and disobedient" without citing any source for this claim. Bias by omission pervades the text, exemplified by mention that the American Psychological Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders still lists "gender fluidity" as a mental illness. Gender Identity Disorder, which is included in the Manual, has engendered huge debate in the psychology community, yet none of this controversy appears. This set discredits its objectivity by its unnecessary use of racial slurs such as raghead and Shylock; it would have sufficed to say that Jewish and Muslim individuals have suffered from slurs. The set also describes the baggy pants fashion as that of "pimps and hos of dangerous, young urban African American and Latin gangsters.o The lack of visual tools also makes what useful information there is a dull read. Although dated, Joel Garreau's The Nine Nations of North America (Houghton Mifflin, 1981) providesbetter cultural information. Reviewer: Ruth Paget
Library Journal

The author of several reference works about the United States, including Greenwood's The Uniting States: The Story of Statehood for the Fifty United States(LJ12/04), with a doctorate in the history of ideas, Shearer oversaw a handful of U.S. history scholars to compile this concise twovolume set on American cultures and customs. The set is made up of nine chapters distributed across two volumes. Volume 1, "Customs and Society," begins with a chronology that allows the reader to get a glimpse of the spread of U.S. history, then proceeds into an overview chapter, the longest in the work. The remaining chapters in this volume-"Religion and Thought," "Gender, Marriage, Family and Education," and "Holidays and Leisure"-are by necessity tersely written but packed with facts, statistics, and the occasional illustration. Volume 2, "Culture," focuses on cultural issues like cuisine, fashion, literature, and the performing arts. Each chapter has a "Notes" section with works cited. BOTTOM LINE This engaging set covers welltrodden ground, but its quick and factual manner sets it apart from other works. It is an excellent addition to high school and community college libraries supporting lowerlevel classes in U.S. history. It could also be used to support international student programs at higherlevel institutions. [Ebk. ISBN 9780313083371 $104.50; this volume will become part of Greenwood's Daily Life Through History Premium online resource later in the spring; it will also be available through the Greenwood Digital Collection.]
—Samantha Schmehl Hines

School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up- This wide-ranging, clearly written work covers religion, sociology, sports, domestic life, language arts, technology, architecture, and history. Each thematic chapter is further divided into topical areas, many of a geographical nature (performing arts in the Northwest, for example). This subdivision, along with the comprehensive index, will assist researchers. The facts and context provided are illuminating. In "Cuisine and Fashion," for example, the amount of food Americans eat is explained in concrete terms (we eat roughly 100 acres of pizza daily). The growth of U.S. fashion is partially explained by the Nazi occupation of France during the years 1940-1944, when the New York industry was able to gain at the expense of Paris, and the American concept of ready-to-wear clothing is detailed. Black-and-white pictures accompany the text throughout. While most students will initially use this set strictly for reports, it is likely that they will be intrigued enough to continue reading.-Beth McGuire, Fannett-Metal School District, Willow Hill, PA

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313338755
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/28/2007
  • Series: Culture and Customs of North America Series
  • Edition description: Two Volume Set
  • Pages: 440
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

BENJAMIN F. SHEARER received his Ph.D. in the history of ideas from St. Louis University and his M.S.L.S. from the University of Illinois--Urbana Champaign. He has written and edited several reference books, including Home Front Heroes (Greenwood, 2007), The Uniting States (Greenwood, 2004), and State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols (Third edition, Greenwood, 2002).

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