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Monday, November 15, 2010

And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman

And the Pursuit of Happiness
Publisher: Penguin Press HC
ISBN: 1594202672
Pages: 480 pgs
Genre: Art/Politics
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Summary from publisher:
With her trademark style, wit, sensitivity, and spontaneity, Maira Kalman guides a whirlwind tour of American democracy.

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.

My Review:
I am usually not that interested in art books or books that are dominated by pictures. Ansel Adams is usually my exception.  I was so happy to be taken out of my routine with this one.

This was one of the most beautiful books I have ever encountered. The art was gorgeous. It was bright, colorful and engaging. I also really prefer muted colors in art so loving the art in this book is saying something.

Political discussion is admittedly not my thing. I avoid it any way I can. Especially considering my liberal political leanings are far different from almost everyone I consider close. But And the Pursuit of Happiness brought back all of the reasons I love this country. The history was already beautiful but Maira Kalman made the beauty even more pronounced in this book.

This is not very heavy reading but it packs one he'll of a punch. It made me fall just a little bit in historical love with Abraham Lincoln. If you are feeling even a little disillusioned, pick this one up.
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

1 comment:

  1. I've been hearing such great thing about this book and I really REALLY want to read it for myself. I love how it seems to remind us of what is great about our not-always-perfect country.

    Thanks for being a part of this tour.



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