Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience

Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience

by Melanie Kirkpatrick


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Monday, May 23


We all know the story of Thanksgiving. Or do we? This uniquely American holiday has a rich and little-known history beyond the famous Pilgrim feast of 1621.

Melanie Kirkpatrick journeys through four centuries to craft a vivid portrait of our nation's best-loved tradition in Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience. Drawing on newspaper accounts, official documents, private correspondence, and cookbooks, she illuminates what the holiday has meant to generations of Americans.

Presidents play key parts: Washington proclaimed our first national day of Thanksgiving amid controversy over his constitutional power to do so. Lincoln aimed to heal a fractured nation when he called for all Americans to mark a Thanksgiving Day. FDR sparked a debate on states’ rights by changing the traditional date of the holiday. The story also includes the evolution of Thanksgiving dinner, how football became part of the celebration, and how Native Americans view the holiday.

While the rites and rituals have evolved, the essence of Thanksgiving remains the same: family and friends feasting together in a spirit of hospitality and gratitude. Kirkpatrick's exploration of America’s oldest tradition offers a fascinating look into the meaning of the holiday we celebrate on the fourth Thursday of November.

With Readings for Thanksgiving Day and historic Recipes & Bills of Fare.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594038938
Publisher: Encounter Books
Publication date: 10/11/2016
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 406,618
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Melanie Kirkpatrick is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a former deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page. She is the author of Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad, which World Magazine named its 2013 Book of the Year. She has lived in Tokyo, Toronto, Hong Kong, Honolulu and Manhattan, and currently resides in rural Connecticut with her husband, Jack David.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition: Thanksgiving for Us All ix

Introduction: Newcomers xv

Chapter 1 The First Thanksgiving 1

Chapter 2 Before the Pilgrims 21

Chapter 3 America Discovers the Pilgrims 41

Chapter 4 George Washington Sets the Stage 55

Chapter 5 Thanksgiving's Godmother 73

Chapter 6 The Turkey Bowl 91

Chapter 7 Happy Franksgiving 109

Chapter 8 Day of Mourning 127

Chapter 9 Helping Hands 143

Chapter 10 TurkeyDay 161

Afterword: Five Kernels of Corn 181

Readings for Thanksgiving Day 189

Thanksgiving Recipes and Bills of Fare 233

Acknowledgments 249

Notes 255

Index 267

Customer Reviews