- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (July 27, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195117840
- ISBN-13: 978-0195117844
- Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.9 x 5.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,425,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Myths, Legends, and Folktales of America: An Anthology 1st Edition
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From Library Journal
This entertaining anthology presents the astonishing breadth of American folklore, embracing beliefs, myths, sketches, and tall tales that reflect the American experience. Though modest in length, it effectively covers America's polyglot society, ranging from Native Americans to African Americans, Asian Americans, and European Americans. Assembled from original documents and secondary sources, the vignettes reveal a country full of characters vital to our collective memory, from Paul Revere to Superman. The headnotes are exceptionally informative. The editors, who collaborated previously on God: Myths of the Male Divine (LJ 1/96), here continue in the spirit of the late Ben Botkin (e.g., A Treasury of American Folklore, 1944). Deftly arranged and clearly written, this anthology celebrates the diversity and rich heritage shared by all Americans.?Richard K. Burns, MSLS, Hatboro, PA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Deftly arranged and clearly written, this anthology celebrates the diversity and rich heritage shared by all Americans."--Library Journal
"This eclectic collection has a place in any high school library as it underscores and enhances any history course and serves well as a springboard for further discussion."--Kliatt
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Top customer reviews
Overall, I think this book is pretty weak. Not only are the selections of “folklore” poorly chosen, they are also not adequately glossed. For instance, the last tale is a nice Asian rendition of the Cinderella story, but, not only do the authors not even mention the Cinderella connection, there is also no discussion of how it fits into the canon of Asian or Asian-American folktales. The only editorial comment is a statement that there isn’t much Asian-American folklore -- a statement anyone who has ever watched Margaret Cho or read Amy Tan knows is not the case. The editors’ only other comment is a seemingly pointless statement about gurus in America.
This book is not uninteresting to read, but I don’t think it contributes anything to the discipline of folklore and perhaps even harms it by its heavy-handed meshing of authentic and spurious lore and the almost complete lack of scholarly apparatus. It isn’t just the Asian Americans and Native Americans who are abused in this book. Besides including pieces that refer to Native Americans as “murdering savages,” (see page 129, for instance) too much of what is included is “rewritten.” The Pecos Bill story, for instance, is “rewritten based on Botkin.” (p, 161) Why? What good is served by that? None that I can see. The editors also don’t know, or choose to ignore, the great probability that Calamity Jane herself is the one who started the rumors that she had an affair with Wild Bill Hickock. (p. 162)
So, while it is a somewhat entertaining book to read, I really don’t see that it has anything of value to offer either the scholar or the lay reader. Too much of the material needs to be contextualized and critiqued; too little of it is.