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United States of Americana: Backyard Chickens, Burlesque Beauties, and Handmade Bitters: A Field Guide to the New American Roots Movement Paperback – August 31, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“Reighley’s book is your magical wardrobe into the Narnia of Americana. If it isn’t in here, it isn’t part of the heritage. Always fun, fully informed, astutely researched, and extremely generous in scope, United States of Americana is the lexicon of a laudable way of life.” (Wesley Stace, also known as John Wesley Harding)
“Encompassing, engaging, and definitive. . . . Reighley shows us the Americana movement from the inside. . . . Perfect bedside reading for anyone seeking to inch their way toward a more enriched and rewarding lifestyle.” (John Roderick, from The Long Winters)
“United States of Americana reminds us of many things we need reminding of. . . . This book will hopefully show the reader that while our hands have perhaps softened they are not just for eating, typing, and tying our shoes.” (Chris Bray, co-founder of Billykirk)
“A fantastically thorough handbook. . . . Reighley proves that old is the new new and that fringe interests will blend into the future, making the mash-up of the now.” (Faythe Levine, author of Handmade Nation: The Rise of D.I.Y. Art, Craft & Design)
“United States of Americana is Foxfire magazine for the Hipster Handbook audience.” (Lance Ledbetter, founder of Dust-to-Digital)
“Capturing that “old weird America” with a decidedly 21st century spin, Reighley guides his audience through the intricacies of cocktails and canning parties, where to pick up a good pair of boots, and why Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music is essential listening.” (Justin Gage, of Aquarium Drunkard)
“Reighley’s tome is a font of knowledge. . . . [We have an] affection for this call to reclaim our scrappy American individualism.” (Modern Tonic)
“[Takes] us back to the place where we knew how to make things that would last, how to take care of them — and even knew the people who made them. . . . His entertaining, informed chapter on music is a micro field guide in itself.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
“It’s hard to imagine a simpler, slower time—but plenty of us are trying to make a return. . . . [United States of Americana] can help you recapture a bit of America as it used to be, before the days of Internets and iPhones. (Uncrate.com)
“[An] exploration of an idiosyncratic but undeniable right-now culture movement. . . . Reighley’s like a wool-shirted, moonshine-sipping uncle tying up trends and connecting the return-to-the-good-olde-days dots from his post on some picturesque porch. It’s a really fun read.” (Seattle Metropolitan Magazine)
“For any American who’s ever thought about playing a vinyl record, making some jam, or ordering a pair of custom-made boots, this semi-encyclopedia to the new age of ‘essential pragmatism’ and craftsmanship is a delight. . . . Comprehensive, well-written, and enjoyable.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Reighley shows how working a little to find the tried and true can feel more deeply satisfying than buying into today’s fast-paced consumer culture.” (The Oregonian (Portland))
“A comprehensive guide to young America’s return to the ways of generations past, with immersive chapters on such activities as raising chickens, facial hair grooming, and burlesque.” (Portland Mercury)
“The resurgence in old-school Americana is part of a national trend, one thoroughly and captivatingly mapped [in United States of Americana]. . . . Reighley’s chronicle flows with...ease and enticement.” (Seattle Magazine)
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Top Customer Reviews
Lack of Gender
While I thoroughly enjoyed reading about men's facial hair, the different types of mustaches (really!), the origins of each liquor, and almost every sidebar, I was disappointed to see there was little, if no, female influence on any of these topics. Sure, knitting and crafts scream "the woman's job," but regarding clothes, grooming, leather work, and even music, historical influences and subsequent revelations were male-oriented. Where are the women's trends? Hats, fascinators and headpieces are all making enormous resurgences in women's fashion; it would have fit nicely between straight razors and bowler hats. It would have been nice to read how today's movement is affecting the "other" gender, since I consider myself a woman participating in this new American roots movement. Gender's not even mentioned facetiously until the crafts chapter. Mentioning Martha Stewart doesn't count, and boiling women down to crafts and burlesque is predictable.
It is clear that Reighley is a music lover. The passion (albeit, a bit of snootiness) that shines through in his chapter "Songs of Pioneers" is obvious. But it leaks a little into other chapters, such as "Design and Décor.Read more ›
There's a paradox in all this: what's the big Story in a bunch of people doing old stuff? As the answers unfold, it becomes clear that all of these quirky old-fashioned hobbies (some of which have turned into lucrative professions) are a vivid (and mostly authentic) search of meaning, intimacy and a sense of realness against the backdrop of Facebook America (where your friends literally are electric). Even as Walmart and other huge corporations own more and more of our commerce, our government, our time and our culture, the underground of DIY artisans is burgeoning too, from your local farmer's market to Etsy.com, and even as YouTube and Pandora transform what it means to consume music, odds are there are more and more artists in your community finding greater satisfaction busking blues, bluegrass or old-time music, or trading in their turntables for belly dance and burlesque costumes.Read more ›
That said, the book reads like a very-over-extended article for an in-flight magazine. There is no depth of analysis here, and what insight it does provide is over and done by the end of the introduction. The sections connected to old companies like Filson or Carhartt read like they were lifted straight from PR pieces. I was hoping for something that looked deeper and made the larger cultural connections, or offered some critique, but this falls flat on anything beyond "look! cool!"
Again, if you are looking for a very basic field guide, this will do. Anyone expecting anything beyond the 101 will be disappointed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great read on Americana - I've used it as a resource for several things.Published 19 months ago by Tammy Derrigan
A delightful read - well researched - as his father, I have a bias.Published 23 months ago by F. J. Reighley Jr.
This book definitely met my expectations! A really good read - very informative with just the right amount of humor thrown in.Published on December 20, 2012 by ac
Ultimately, I can't deny that this was a very interesting concept for a book, especially with North American's current mindset and economic factors. Read morePublished on March 28, 2011 by Bibliotropic .net
The struggling economy, planned obsolescence, and the never-ending cycle of new generations rediscovering the cool stuff discarded by their elders has led to a rebirth of the... Read morePublished on November 18, 2010 by Alonso Duralde
The United States of Americana covers everything from canning your own food, to honoring tried and true garment manufacturers, to retro careers like urban farming or burlesque... Read morePublished on October 10, 2010 by Judy McGuire