Synopses & Reviews
New in paperback
While many cultures eat pumpkin year round, North Americans reserve it for a set of beloved autumn rituals that celebrate the harvest season and the rural past. In a fascinating cultural and natural history, Pumpkin shows how Americans have used the pumpkin to connect with nature and our agrarian roots--and, ironically, how this process has revitalized small farms and rural communities.
Cindy Ott is assistant professor of American studies at Saint Louis University.
"After smashing our illusions about the Pilgrims, Ott continues her pumpkin iconoclasm. The pumpkin as symbol comes full circle." --Nina C. Ayoub, The Chronicle of Higher Education
"An extraordinary scholar and storyteller, Cindy Ott tracks the culture that altered the very nature of the pumpkin--and in doing so, tells us a revealing story about ourselves. Not to be missed." --Philip J. Deloria, author of Playing Indian
"Her analysis certainly leads to a deeper consideration of this simple vegetable and how it is that Americans may still consider the country a farming nation, although the number of farmers had declined dramatically. . ." -Rae Katherine Eighmey, Minnesota History
"Cindy Ott digs deeply and creatively in furrowing a few familiar and many elusive sources in this major contribution to American agricultural and sociocultural history." -Michael Kammen, The Journal of American History, Vol. 100(1), 2013
"There is much treasure to be mined from this engaging work of nonfiction, so carve out some reading time, and enjoy a pumpkin-tastic narrative." -Jan Johnson, The Columbian
"That Ott has done her homework on the topic is evident throughout. . . .there is a wealth of historical context in each chapter, including extensive work on Pilgrims, sectionalism in the early republic, market capitalism, and agricultural history." -Andrew Duffin, Environmental History, January 2014
"From pumpkin beer and pumpkin pie to the Headless Horseman in Washington Irving's Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Linus's undying faith in the Great Pumpkin in the Peanuts comic strip, Cindy Ott cultivates the entire patch." -David Abrams, The Quivering Pen, October 2013