- Unknown Binding
- Publisher: Knopf (1996)
- ASIN: B003L1ONGW
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
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Battle For Christmas
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Top Customer Reviews
Nissenbaum bookends "Battle" with accounts of New England's "wassail" tradition and of Christmas celebrations in the slavery South. He finds similar tales of pauper (peasant class, slave) trading places with prince (gentry, slavemaster) with wild costumes (German Belsnickle, African John Canoe, Boston-Philadelphia "mumming"), endorsed begging, whiskey-soaked revelry and feasting, bawdy songs, wanton sex, vandalism and violence equal parts Halloween and Mardi Gras. Nissenbaum successfully argues that this role reversal behavior was tolerated, even encouraged to reinforce traditional class roles.
Nissenbaum builds his unsentimental holiday history between these pillars. He reinterprets beloved, seemingly eternal seasonal traditions (Dickens' "Christmas Carol," decorated trees, St. Nicholas) as creations to refocus the celebration on temperance, home, and family (especially children). He links their manufacture and deliberate spread to 19th century revisionist views: abolition and the role of freed blacks, new child rearing and education theories. Nissenbaum redefines "Twas The Night Before Christmas" nearly line-by-line, showing the social satire within Clement Moore's detailed descriptions and figurative redrawing of the "jolly old elf.Read more ›
This book quite literally changed the way I viewed Christmas. I appreciate the holiday and enjoy the season much more than I used to!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
every christian should read this truth about their beloved "holy day"Published 7 months ago by Thomas E. Smith
A bit pedantic, but he makes some very good points on the evolution of Christmas in America. His insights don't jump out at you, but they are worth the read!Published 12 months ago by R. SEUTTER
How a book can claim to give a 'cultural' history of Christmas without mentioning that this holiday had a prior history.. Read morePublished 14 months ago by StarGirl
I waited for ever to get this book through a library reserve and it is a disappointment.
Page 5 repeats the standard claim that Christmas was celebrated with feasting in... Read more
Very interesting 'facts' and stories about Christmas. (Imagine having to BATTLE for anything as wonderful as Christmas! )Published 16 months ago by Honey Mom
I bought and read Stephen Nissenbaum's "The Battle for Christmas" in 1997, shortly after it came out. Read morePublished 20 months ago by blue ocotillo