Red, White, and Blue Letter Days: An American Calendar

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9780801436475: Red, White, and Blue Letter Days: An American Calendar
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The Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Columbus Day, Labor Day, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday, and other celebrations matter to Americans and reflect the state of American local and national politics. Commemorations of cataclysmic events and light, apparently trivial observances mirror American political and cultural life. Both reveal much about the material conditions of the United States and its citizens' identities, historical consciousness, and political attitudes. Lying dormant within these celebrations is the potential for political consequence, controversy, even transformation. American political fetes remain works in progress, as Americans use historical celebrations as occasions to reinvent themselves and their nation, often with surprising results. In six chapters assaying particular political holidays over the course of their histories, Red, White, and Blue Letter Days examines how Americans have shaped and been shaped by their calendar.

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From the Inside Flap:

"Red, White, and Blue Letter Days is an enormously ambitious, creative, well-written, and informative history of the most important and lasting American civic holidays. Matthew Dennis builds on a profusion of recent work on celebrations and historical memory and successfully incorporates more of it than any other book to date."--David Waldstreicher, University of Notre Dame

"A stunning departure from all ordinary books on the meanings of holidays in public memory. With a real flair for narrative and a sharp critical focus, Matthew Dennis blends national and local experiences, showing the profound interactions taking place among ethnicities and partisan causes. There is beauty as well as a powerful logic in these pages."--Andrew Burstein, University of Tulsa

About the Author:

Matthew Dennis is Associate Professor of History at the University of Oregon.

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