Originally this collection was presented as a blog series in the New York Times and now as a wonderful book of (mostly) illustrations from Maira Kalman. This book takes you through an entire year's worth of exploring American democracy in imaginative and personal ways.
She falls in love with Abraham Lincoln, for example.
I keep it around and flip through when I need inspiration...Really makes me want to travel to all of these historic landmarks.
Highlight: Kalman visits the Pentagon and writes "I wonder, why does the building have to be as bland and as soulless as a hospital? Have they not seen any James Bond movies? Would it kill them to have some style?"
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purrbot, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by purrbot)
I laughed, I cried, my heart swelled. This book is a dorky, informative, funny, and charming jaunt through the United States early history & Maira Kalman's head. Kalman knows how to tell it like it is, honestly. She shows the human side to things that don't always get that chance. She is fair & just, while maintaining a healthy degree of nerdy & irreverence & sweetness. This book made my year!
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radfemme, November 21, 2010 (view all comments by radfemme)
I felt like a kid on Christmas morning when I heard Maira Kalman had a new book out! Drooling over "Principles of Uncertainty" was a personal revelation (what?! no one told me you could make your interesting, witty, beautiful journal into a BOOK!) and her new volume is no less majestic. Remember that history teacher you had who was a little eccentric but loved teaching and always digressed during lectures--only you couldn't tell they were digressions because they were so damned interesting? Meet Maira. She'll be your guide on the coolest (and most wonderfully illustrated) carpet ride through America's past and present ever offered to freedom-loving citizens with short attention spans and no gift for remembering important dates.
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With her trademark style, wit, sensitivity, and spontaneity, Maira Kalman guides a whirlwind tour of American democracy in And the Pursuit of Happiness.
Energized and inspired by the 2008 elections, celebrated illustrator Maira Kalman traveled to Washington, D.C., launching a year-long investigation of American democracy and its workings. The result is an artist’s idiosyncratic vision of history and contemporary politics.
Whether returning to America’s historical roots at the Lincoln archive and Jefferson’s Monticello, or taking the pulse of the present day at a town hall meeting in Vermont, an Army base in Kentucky, and the inner chambers of the Supreme Court, Kalman finds evidence of democracy at work all around us. Her route is always one of fascinating indirection, but one that captures and shares in hundreds of beautiful, colorful reasons why we are proud to be Americans.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and eBooks — here at Powells.com.