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Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween

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9781582343051: Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween
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Using a mix of personal anecdotes and perceptive social analysis, acclaimed cultural critic David J. Skal examines the amazing phenomenon of Halloween, exploring its dark Celtic history and illuminating why it has evolved-in the course of a few short generations-from a quaint, small-scale celebration into the largest seasonal marketing event outside of Christmas.

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About the Author:

David J. Skal is the author of Hollywood Gothic, The Monster Show, V Is for Vampire, Screams of Reason, and, with Elias Savada, Dark Carnival. With Nina Auerbach, he is the co-editor of the Norton Critical Edition of Bram Stoker's Dracula. A longtime New Yorker, he now lives in Los Angeles.

From Library Journal:

An expert in scary culture, Skal (V Is for Vampire; The Monster Show) gleefully explores Halloween in America. His exploration of Halloween's origins is competent and evenhanded, but his real focus is on the present, where a lucrative industry has supplanted a frightening holiday. He reveals the people behind the industry who devote their lives to the dark side of American kitsch, covering the Halloween movies, Halloween among the gay community in San Francisco, and tourism in Salem, MA. He also includes a chapter on the effect of September 11 on Halloween celebrations. His breathless attempt to set the book's tone with the tale of a real-life bogeyman feels forced, but as soon as he digs in and starts debunking Halloween urban myths rather than playing into them the book comes to life. Skal's book draws upon Lesley Pratt Bannatyne's Halloween: An American Holiday, an American History (Pelican, 1998), but Skal's focus is on original research. While less comprehensive than Jack Santino's Halloween and Other Festivals of Death and Life (Univ. of Tennessee, 1994), this is a wonderful choice for larger collections and lends itself to a much wider audience. Audrey Snowden, formerly with Clark Univ., Worcester, MA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9781582342306: Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween

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