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Americanon: An Unexpected U.S. History in…
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Americanon: An Unexpected U.S. History in Thirteen Bestselling Books (edição: 2021)

de Jess McHugh (Autor)

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Membro:venomquartz
Título:Americanon: An Unexpected U.S. History in Thirteen Bestselling Books
Autores:Jess McHugh (Autor)
Informação:Dutton (2021), 432 pages
Coleções:Para ler
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Americanon: An Unexpected U.S. History in Thirteen Bestselling Books de Jess McHugh

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ne of the books in our library is my mother-in-law's copy of Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book. The volume show the stains and wear of fifty-nine years of hard use.

Laura prided herself on her abilities in the kitchen, especially as a baker of cookies and pies. Any family gathering she would have two pies to choose from, served a few hours after a big dinner.

After reading the chapter on the Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book in Americanon, I took the cook book from the shelf and discovered Laura had a first edition!

The Picture Cook Book would have saved me loads of trouble as I learned to cook. Everything a new cook needed to know could be found in these pages, starting with the basics of measuring.

Jess McHugh writes that Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book was only outsold by the Bible, earning it a place in her list of books that form the American Canon, books that formed American's identity while enforcing the status quo of the white, European, upper class.

Betty Crocker was a fictional creation used to sell products and educate homemakers, but she became a friend in need to millions of her fans who wrote her revelatory letters. Her advice aided women through depressions and war rationing. And she promoted General Mills products, such as Bisquick, which was always in my mom's kitchen.

Other books in the 'canon' were as ubiquitous in American homes, inspiring and informing readers. The people who wrote these books did not always live in alignment with what they preached. The values Americans discovered in the books were traditional, not progressive. Women were domestic goddesses, immigrants were to be Americanized, LGBTQ were sick criminals, and people of color were ignored, marginalized, or downright thrust into racist stereotypes.

The most modern popular books are the self-help books that sell a kind of religion of the self, proposing that it is in our power to be healthy, wealthy, and happy. (Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography had a heavy dose of such advice, as well.) The authors of these books had personal hobby-horses to promote. Many were unqualified to give medical, sexual, financial, or mental health advice.

The language we speak and the spelling we use, our agreed upon social interactions, even our sexual life, have been based upon these books. For better, and often definitely for worse, they formed our national identity and character.

I received a free galley from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased. ( )
  nancyadair | Apr 23, 2021 |
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