The History of the Snowman

by Bob Eckstein | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1416940669 Global Overview for this book
Registered by dvg of Toms River, New Jersey USA on 1/3/2017
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by dvg from Toms River, New Jersey USA on Tuesday, January 03, 2017
Who made the first snowman? Who first came up with the idea of placing snowballs on top of each other, and who decided they would use a carrot for a nose? Most puzzling of all: How can this mystery ever be solved, with all the evidence long since melted? The snowman appears everywhere on practically everything - from knickknacks to greeting cards to seasonal sweaters we plan to return. Whenever we see big snowballs our first impulse is to deck them out with a top hat. Humorist and writer Bob Eckstein has long been fascinated by this ubiquitous symbol of wintertime fun -- and finally, for the first time, one of the world's most popular icons gets his due. A thoroughly entertaining exploration, The History of the Snowman travels back in time to shed light on the snowman's enigmatic past -- from the present day, in which the snowman reigns as the King of Kitsch, to the Dark Ages, with the creation of the very first snowman. Eckstein's curiosity began playfully enough, but soon snowballed into a (mostly) earnest quest of chasing Frosty around the world, into museums and libraries, and seeking out the advice of leading historians and scholars. The result is a riveting history that reaches back through centuries and across cultures -- sweeping from fifteenth-century Italian snowballs to eighteenth-century Russian ice sculptures to the regrettable "white-trash years" (1975-2000). The snowman is not just part of our childhood memories, but is an integral part of our world culture, appearing -- much like a frozen Forrest Gump -- alongside dignitaries and celebrities during momentous events. Again and again, the snowman pops up in rare prints, paintings, early movies, advertising and, over the past century, in every art form imaginable. And the jolly snowman -- ostensibly as pure as the driven snow -- also harbors a dark past full of political intrigue, sex, and violence.

With more than two hundred illustrations and a special section of the best snowman cartoons, The History of the Snowman is a truly original winter classic -- smart, surprisingly enlightening, and quite simply the coolest book ever.

Journal Entry 2 by dvg at Surprise, RABCK -- Controlled Releases on Thursday, January 05, 2017

Released 2 yrs ago (1/5/2017 UTC) at Surprise, RABCK -- Controlled Releases

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

A wishlist tag for NancyNova. A surprise book I think you will enjoy, a bit of childhood fun and history combined. I hope you enjoy.

purchased this a few years back at a local library sale during a bag day. I picked it up to read and wasn't sure what to expect. Well, to be honest, I thought it would be a boring read. It was anything but a boring read! Yes, it had facts and tidbits about the snowman. It also had bits of humor and was written in a way that kept me wanting to know more. I thank the author, Bob Eckstein, for doing all the research and writing about something we take for granted seeing every winter and for something that gave us joy as children. I don't want to give away spoilers. So, read and enjoy!
Happy Reading and Happy BookCrossing!

Journal Entry 3 by wingNancyNovawing at Lansdale, Pennsylvania USA on Thursday, January 19, 2017
tag book got here. Looks interesting. Thanks!

Journal Entry 4 by wingNancyNovawing at Lansdale, Pennsylvania USA on Saturday, April 28, 2018
rabck from dvg; everything you always wanted to know about snowmen, but were afraid to ask! Although Frosty is mentioned, there is a whole lot more about snowmen, going back centuries, with lots of photos and illustrations of the author's findings
This book will travel along in the biography of things bookbox

Journal Entry 5 by wingNancyNovawing at -- Bookbox, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA on Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Released 1 yr ago (5/15/2018 UTC) at -- Bookbox, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

If you aren't familiar with Bookcrossing, take a few minutes to check out this very cool site. Bookcrossers LOVE books, and more than anything, they love to read books and then set them free for other people to find and enjoy. I would love it if you would leave a journal entry -- you can say where you found the book or how you liked it when you read it. Then, when you are ready, pass it along for someone else to enjoy! Thanks and happy reading!

Journal Entry 6 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, May 26, 2018
I'm claiming this from the Biographies of Things bookbox. Looks like fun, and should make a timely release next winter - which, given the way the weather's been lately, could occur any day now!

Later: This is a humorous "history of the snowman" in art and culture, with some facts sprinkled among the entertainment - though it may not always be easy to figure out which is which without referring to the sources!

It does seem that the author spent considerable time looking for snowmen in old paintings and other artworks. In the "Snowman's Index" (a list of snowman-related stats) he includes these items: "Number of historical pieces of art on record at The Hague's Royal Library: 8,000,000. Number of those defined as 'winterscapes': 15,000. Number of snowmen found within that collection: 2." Some of the early art works featuring snowmen are pretty interesting; there's an illustration of a 1403 fresco showing gentle-folk throwing snowballs at each other, not something I remember from medieval history lessons! [No snow-people in that picture that I could see, but the author theorizes that anyone who makes snowballs is just one step away from making a snowman.]

There are lots of snowman-related tie-ins, including an odd note: apparently, O. Henry's last story, completed posthumously by a friend, was called "The Snowman", putting a different spin on the traditional O. Henry twist ending!

Lots of snowmen appear in advertising, of course, and there are quite a few illustrations of such appearances. [Pseudo-snowmen such as the Sta-Puft marshmallow man are included as distant kinfolk.] And then there are the illustrations done by the author, such as the one done in the style of a 1500s woodcut, depicting burghers surrounding a crude snowman - and singing "Ik ben de sneeuwman, goob, goob j'goob". It was that caption that tipped me off that the woodcut wasn't genuine {wry grin}.

Oddly enough, my favorite bit of the book is the "Miscellaneous" section at the end, where the author tosses in bits of data that didn't fit in other chapters. Among these are some notes about televised versions of "Frosty the Snowman" and its connections to other Christmas specials.

Released 11 mos ago (6/10/2018 UTC) at Little Free Library, Youth Garden, Crandall Park in Tolland, Connecticut USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I left this book in the charming Little Free Library near the Youth Garden; hope someone enjoys it!

*** Released for the 2018 Keep Them Moving release challenge. ***

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