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Handwriting in America: A Cultural History

4 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0300074413
ISBN-10: 0300074417
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tamara Plakins Thornton is professor of history at the State University of New York, Buffalo.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (May 25, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300074417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300074413
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,406,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
An interesting book, but it should have been titled "The Teaching of Handwriting in America". Also, it missed a kind of writing which I can't name, but know when I see it - for example, something like "California" on California auto license tags. It was taught in America, and it was the model in England for many years - a Life magazine article around 1950 showed such examples from the winners in an English schoolboy competition. (My father learned this style in a preparatory school in the South in the early 1900s, and one of our daughters-in-law was taught the same way.)
One reviewer adversely criticized this book for harping on, perhaps even imagining, sexism in the early teaching of handwriting, and I don't think the comment was deserved - I believe the author was accurately describing what was actually taught, and gave it no more space than is warranted.
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Such a comprehensive history of handwriting, so well researched and a joy to read. I would recommend this to anyone interested in cultural or social history.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most of this book seems to be written from the typical university left-wing point of view, in which handwriting practice in years gone by was just a way of making conforming "assembly line" citizens for capitalists.

But at the end of the book, Professor Thornton seems to realize that the pendulum has swung too far, and that today's pampered youth could use a bit of discipline in school.

I only hope she will soon realizing that fluent handwriting is a key to literacy and to education reform, which is now apparent from so many on-line articles.
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I am reviewing handwriting history for a presentation and I could not get interested in this book. I found the chapters to be too full of information. I certainly learned about the development of handwriting and have just skimmed the book rather then reading it.
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