Johnny Appleseed and the American Orchard received a nice review on Adam’s Apples blog a few weeks ago. I was especially pleased to get a favorable review from Adam because his blog has been my go-to blog for informed and reliable opinions on apple varieties for a long time. Whenever I encounter an apple variety at a farm stand or in the grocery store that is new to me, I check out Adam’s opinionated catalog of apples, and more often than not, he has images and a spot-on review. His catalog includes both old heritage varieties and the newest cultivars on the market.
Here’s an excerpt of Adam’s review:
Historian William Kerrigan has given us a view of Chapman’s life, but also of ourselves, in his book Johnny Appleseed and the American Orchard: A Cultural History (Johns Hopkins University Press 2012).
Kerrigan traces Chapman’s story from his family’s beginnings in colonial Massachusetts to his apotheosis into folk legend and Disney character, a process mediated by American culture.
Along the way Kerrigan, a history professor at Muskingum University in Ohio, paints a vivid portrait of the American frontier in the time between the Revolution and Chapman’s death in 1845.
His account of Chapman’s life veers fruitfully into stories about apples and cider and their social and economic significance in American life. These detours include some of my favorite stories of his book, chronicling the social and political divide between lowly sapling pippins and high-born grafted cultivars.
Cider figured in the presidential election of 1840 and was later a target of the temperance movement.
Thanks, Adam, for the nice review!