Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon

Overview


New in paperback

While many cultures eat pumpkin year round, North Americans reserve it for a set of beloved autumn rituals that celebrate the harvest season and the rural past. In a fascinating cultural and natural history, Pumpkin shows how Americans have used the pumpkin to connect with nature and our agrarian roots--and, ironically, how this process has revitalized small farms and rural communities.

Cindy Ott is assistant professor of ...

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Overview


New in paperback

While many cultures eat pumpkin year round, North Americans reserve it for a set of beloved autumn rituals that celebrate the harvest season and the rural past. In a fascinating cultural and natural history, Pumpkin shows how Americans have used the pumpkin to connect with nature and our agrarian roots--and, ironically, how this process has revitalized small farms and rural communities.

Cindy Ott is assistant professor of American studies at Saint Louis University.

"After smashing our illusions about the Pilgrims, Ott continues her pumpkin iconoclasm. The pumpkin as symbol comes full circle." --Nina C. Ayoub, The Chronicle of Higher Education

"An extraordinary scholar and storyteller, Cindy Ott tracks the culture that altered the very nature of the pumpkin--and in doing so, tells us a revealing story about ourselves. Not to be missed." --Philip J. Deloria, author of Playing Indian

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"That Ott has done her homework on the topic is evident throughout. . . .there is a wealth of historical context in each chapter, including extensive work on Pilgrims, sectionalism in the early republic, market capitalism, and agricultural history." -Andrew Duffin, Environmental History, January 2014

"From pumpkin beer and pumpkin pie to the Headless Horseman in Washington Irving's Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Linus's undying faith in the Great Pumpkin in the Peanuts comic strip, Cindy Ott cultivates the entire patch." -David Abrams, The Quivering Pen, October 2013

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780295993324
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press
  • Publication date: 7/25/2013
  • Series: Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 627,474
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword: Not Bread Alone William Cronon vii

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 3

1 Corn, Beans, and Just Another Squash 10,000 BCE to 1600 9

2 "The Times Wherein Old Pompion Was a Saint": From Pumpkin Beer to Pumpkin Pie, 1600 to 1799 32

3 Thoreau Sits On a Pumpkin: The Making of a Rural New England Icon, 1800 to 1860 57

4 "Wonderfully Grand and Colossal": The Pumpkin and the Nation, 1861 to 1899 85

5 Jack-O'-Lantern Smiles: Americans Celebrate the Fall Harvest with Pumpkins, 1900 to 1945 112

6 Atlantic Giants to Jack-Be-Littles: The Changing Nature of Pumpkins, 1946 to the Present 139

7 Pulling Up a Pig Sty to Put in a Pumpkin Patch: The Changing Nature of American Rural Economies, 1946 to the Present 165

Notes 199

Bibliography 269

Index 309

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