ThanksgivingAn American Holiday, An American History

From the Jacket:

Thanksgiving is as lively as American life – and, indeed, the history of this holiday is itself a vital history of America.

Yet while Thanksgiving is America’s oldest and most
beloved holiday, it is the country’s most misunderstood. For instance, the celebrated Plymouth thanksgiving, although among the earliest thanksgivings in the New World,
was not the first. Nor was the Pilgrims’ harvest feast nearly as abundant as legend would have us believe.

In Thanksgiving, author Diana Karter Appelbaum sifts fact from fancy about this uniquely American holiday. She not only clarifies the times, places and circumstances of the earliest thanksgivings, but she also traces the evolution of the holiday and its historical parallel to the growth of America.

This delightful yet authoritative book recounts the role of Thanksgiving in colonial days, through the Revolutionary War and into the turbulent times of the 19th century, when the holiday became a point at issue in the Slave vs. Free State controversies. And this history moves west with pioneers and into the families of prairie homesteaders and prospectors. The trappings that served to form our present Thanksgiving tradition dating from Victorian times are also examined, as well as the various celebrations of the holiday held overseas by Americans living abroad or serving n the armed forces during both World Wars.

Photographs, poems and lyrics further complement this charming history. In all, Thanksgiving offers a complete account of the roots of this rich American holiday from its earliest celebrations up to the present day.


“A fascinating history of a revered American institution.”

Booklist Magazine


‘Thanksgiving’ is featured prominently in a seasonal travel piece about Plymouth in The Boston Globe.

‘Thanksgiving’ provides the basis for seasonal musings by a columnist for the St. Petersburg Times.