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And the Pursuit of Happinessby Maira Kalman
Synopses & Reviews
And the Pursuit of Happiness is beloved artist and author Maira Kalman's yearlong investigation of democracy and how it works. Energized and inspired by the 2008 elections, on inauguration day Kalman traveled to Washington, D.C., launching a national tour that would take her from a town hall meeting in Newfane, Vermont, to the inner chambers of the Supreme Court.
As we follow Kalman's wholly idiosyncratic journey, we fall in love with Lincoln alongside her as she imagines making a home for herself in the center of his magisterial memorial; ponder Alexis de Tocqueville's America; witness the inner workings of a Bronx middle-school student council; take a high-speed lesson in great American women in the National Portrait Gallery; and consider the cost of war to the brave American service families of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The observations she makes as she travels charm and inform, and-as we have come to expect with Kalman-the route is always one of fascinating indirection.
Kalman finds evidence of democracy at work all around us. And the cast of characters we meet along the way is rousing good company, featuring visits from Benjamin Franklin, Eleanor Roosevelt, and many others.
And the Pursuit of Happiness is a remarkable tribute to our history and a powerful reminder of the potential our future holds, from a true national treasure.
With her trademark style, wit, sensitivity, and spontaneity, Maira Kalman guides a whirlwind tour of American democracy in And the Pursuit of Happiness.
Much of Heather Rosss creative work has been inspired by her being born into an eccentric family of artists and idealists in a rural corner of Vermont during the 1970s. According to Heather, that environment was defined by stunning natural beauty, creative and innovative living, and daily lessons in self-reliance. It also included equal parts of general dysfunction, a self-imposed but nearly inescapable poverty, and little exposure to basic life skills.
When, as a twenty-something, Heather complained to her mother about a long list of things she had missed out on and that had compromised her chance of ever leading a normal” life (immunizations, a healthy respect for authority), her mother waved a hand and replied, Well, you should thank me, because you have a lot of good stories instead.” How to Catch a Frog is a collection of those stories, plus others that show Ross's eventual route to success as an artist, entrepreneur, and mother, all animated by Rosss delightful illustrations and how-to instructions.
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.
About the Author
In her own words: "born. bucolic childhood. culture-stuffed adolescence. played piano. stopped. danced. stopped. wrote. discarded writing. drew. reinstated writing. married Tibor Kalman and collaborated at iconoclastic yet successful design studio. wrote and painted children's books. worried. took up Ping-Pong. relaxed. wrote and painted for many magazines. cofounded the Rubber Band Society. amused. children: two. dog: one."
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