Craft: Book summary and reviews of Craft by Glenn Adamson

Craft

An American History

by Glenn Adamson

Craft by Glenn Adamson X
Craft by Glenn Adamson
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About this book

Book Summary

A groundbreaking and endlessly surprising history of how artisans created America, from the nation's origins to the present day.

At the center of the United States' economic and social development, according to conventional wisdom, are industry and technology-while craftspeople and handmade objects are relegated to a bygone past. Renowned historian Glenn Adamson turns that narrative on its head in this innovative account, revealing makers' central role in shaping America's identity. Examine any phase of the nation's struggle to define itself, and artisans are there-from the silversmith Paul Revere and the revolutionary carpenters and blacksmiths who hurled tea into Boston Harbor, to today's "maker movement." From Mother Jones to Rosie the Riveter. From Betsy Ross to Rosa Parks. From suffrage banners to the AIDS Quilt.

Adamson shows that craft has long been implicated in debates around equality, education, and class. Artisanship has often been a site of resistance for oppressed people, such as enslaved African-Americans whose skilled labor might confer hard-won agency under bondage, or the Native American makers who adapted traditional arts into statements of modernity. Theirs are among the array of memorable portraits of Americans both celebrated and unfamiliar in this richly peopled book. As Adamson argues, these artisans' stories speak to our collective striving toward a more perfect union. From the beginning, America had to be-and still remains to be-crafted.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A rich chronicle...the author displays a sensible sensitivity to various cultural, racial, and gender issues that remain with us—from the brutal treatment of Native peoples and African Americans to the denial of equal labor rights (and salaries) to women...Thoroughly researched and written with passion—and a bit of bite." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Erudite and immersive...With lucid prose and exemplary research, Adamson brings intriguing new details and unusual perspectives to even the most familiar story lines. The result is an elegant, detailed, and functional history worthy of its subject." - Publishers Weekly

"Narrate[s] plainly how America was built, who made it, and the stories the nation tells about itself...a celebratory history of craft's potential to liberate America from its racism, xenophobia, and sexism." - Booklist

"A gem of a book. Every chapter is chock-full of fascinating stories and interesting facts. Adamson collects nuggets from history, fiction, and even poetry to bring the world of the American craftsperson vividly to life." - Tyler Anbinder, author of City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York

This information about Craft shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Glenn Adamson

Glenn Adamson is Head of Graduate Studies and Deputy Head of Research at the Victoria & Albert Museum. He is also author of The Craft Reader (Berg, 2009) and Thinking Through Craft (Berg, 2007).

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