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on April 27, 2007
For $39.95, I expected a large coffee-table book with glorious full-color illustrations--something like Melanie Falick's America Knits, which, be it noted, is $14.96 on this site. Instead I received (and read in two hours) a 9 1/2 by 6 1/4 inch, 119-page book with a few grainy black-and-white photos of undistinguished knitters in the center. Nothing in the book adds to the knowledge of a person who has been knitting for a number of years (50+ in my case), reads books and articles about domestic history and social change, and is Internet savvy. On that note, the author says nothing at all about knit lists, of which there are dozens and in which some very skilled and professional knitters participate. These mailing lists are one of the best sources of online information, assistance, and inspiration for knitters who are serious about advancing their skills. I can only conclude that Ms. Wills isn't herself and doesn't know anyone who is. As other Web sites say, "Nothing new here. Move along." And hold on to your $39.95. It will buy you four or five times the number of pages of useful knitting information that this book gives you.
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on February 6, 2008
THE CLOSE-KNIT CIRCLE: AMERICAN KNITTERS TODAY joins others in Praeger's 'American Subcultures' series to examine modern times and trends, and thus will appeal not just to the usual circle of knitters public libraries cater to, but to college-level holdings strong in social issues and American culture. Journalist and knitter Kerry Wills examines the history of knitting through the lives of early knitters, moving to modern times and how knitting became more of the mainstream, and anticipating future trends in needlework. A fascinating history and read.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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on August 3, 2007
"The Close-Knit Circle" is a beacon for knitters and non-knitters alike. In a world full of knitting books this book tells a unique story. Rather than a tome about knitting, containing patterns and so forth, it is a book about the cultural and historical legacy of the knitters themselves. This study of American knitters is inspirational. It combines the scholarship of Howard Zinn with the detail of Studs Terkel and the humor of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. It is skillfully and concisely written. It is also beautifully personal. The story about the pink bunny made me cry. I couldn't put it down.
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on August 9, 2007
Kerry's reflections on knitting as a culture and sub-culture resonated. I appreciated the historical and scholarly detail. The narrative drew me in. The art and craft of knitting legitamized my comforting passion. I recommend this book to all of us who can't stay away from the needles and take wonder in the product, whether for ourselves or for those we love.
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on May 2, 2007
...this book isn't written for knitters. It's written for non-knitting academics. Also - that's why the price is so high. It's more like a textbook, and anyone who has been to college knows how much they gouge students on book prices. Knitters who are already well established with local knitting groups and online won't find this as useful as a sociologist would.

Disclaimer 1: I haven't read the entire thing yet.

Disclaimer 2: I am mentioned in the book.
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on July 29, 2011
I was excited -- as a die-hard knitter- to read this. I thought Wills would write, inclusively, about knitting in America, but she seems exclusively interested in telling a feminist, liberal tale of knitting. She makes it clear from the first few pages that she is a feminist, and that viewpoint clearly sets the tone of her entire book. Her biographical sketches, her histories, her lists of reasons why people knit are all slanted, and make for jaded reading. Sure, the world of knitting is "heterogeneous," as she puts it. How about showing that variety, then? Better yet, how about writing a straightforward account, or at least one that is not so jarring -- or at least putting a disclaimer on the front?
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