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Strange Red Cow: and Other Curious Classified Ads from the Past Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 4, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter (October 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400051207
  • ASIN: B0017HT5CO
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,918,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Sara Bader has produced one of the most delightful and original history books to come along in a while. Bader intuitively understands that the real stuff of history is people's everyday lives and she sets out to find it. . . . Inspired [through unrelated research], she decided to comb the classifieds of U.S. newspapers dating back to the 1700s and the result is this fascinating and charming book which allows the reader, in Bader's apt words, to "untie the twine that once wrapped up (parcels), rifle through satchels, empty out coat pockets . . . and practically touch the contents." —Calgary Herald

About the Author

Sara Bader is a freelance researcher and associate producer who has worked on historical documentary films for both A&E and The History Channel. Previously, she worked on the public affairs series Frontline and MSNBC’s Edgewise with John Hockenberry. This is her first book.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dai-keag-ity on December 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"Will swap my .410 shotgun with box of buck shells for picnic table or lawn chair. Call Hicksville 5-4631.

September 2, 1948

Levittown Tribune"

And that's one of the tamer entries in this funny history-isn't-boring book! Covering hundreds of years worth of odd, hilarious, disturbing and inexplicable classified ads (and leaving plenty of room for a sequel) this is the sort of book that works as a light read, as a study in human sociology, or as a trek through the side of history the textbooks never get right. The changes in the American language alone make this worth owning. My favorites among these ads are the ones that are so bizarre you wonder what on earth the scenario was that led up to it.

For instance:

"Twenty dollar reward--Escaped from my room...one GREY SQUIRREL--The above reward shall be paid for his delivery..."

Were squirrels so uncommon in 1860's Virginia that one was truly worth twenty dollars? And during a war, too! I wish we could contact these original advertisers and ask what on earth their ads were about.

This is one of those engrossing books that you pick up and before you know it you're a hundred pages in. It's a lot of fun.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. Duvall on November 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a well researched, tightly written book that I tore through like a pint of Ben and Jerrys. It is alternately fun, poignant and disturbing. If you like history, you'll dig this book. In places you'll chuckle and in others you will shake your head in disbelief. In the end, if you have ever lost, bought, sold or pined for anything or anyone in your life, you will see yourself in these pages. It will give you a first person glance at the quirky, nutty, and bizarre history that is our own. Finally, hat's off to the author for seemlessly blending Craigslist and the Colonial era, a feat likely never before accomplished.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. E. Bergh on November 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Fascinating! "Strange Red Cow" is literally the voice of all sorts of different people talking to us from over the past three hundred years. Their voices tell us of things they lost and their value to the owner. They tell us their desires. They tell us of their anger. We get a very personal look at how goofy, thoughtful, practical and romantic we have been. We also get a very hard look at arrogance and inhumanity in the runaway slave ads. The author backs up these ads with good research and her own thoughtful commentary. A good book that is easily picked up and put down and will be enjoyed for a long time.
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By Christopher Durant on February 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book explores the wonderful and fascinating world of old newspaper advertisements. I had a terrific time reading it, and will never look at an old newspapers the same way again. A great read!
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