Johnny Appleseed and the American Orchard: A Cultural History

William Kerrigan (Author)

Product Details

Johns Hopkins University Press
Publish Date
December 15, 2012
6.0 X 0.8 X 9.0 inches | 0.9 pounds
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About the Author

William Kerrigan is Arthur G. and Eloise Barnes Cole Distinguished Professor of American History at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio.


"This coverage provides a satisfying blend of frontier history, agricultural and business insights, and American history and is a powerful pick for a range of holdings, from those strong in agricultural or American history to home and garden collections."

--Midwest Book Review

"Readers who are seeking new insights into America's cultural history through the lens of the American orchard, or just hoping for a refreshing look at Johnny Appleseed, will find that this book is replete with new information culled from over fifteen years of meticulous research in country courthouses, historical societies, and Swedenborgian archives. They will also be delighted to discover that the tastelessness of an overproduced, overgrown, chemically dependent apple is absent; instead, they will find the invigorating crispness and freshness of a sun-ripened, pioneer apple, eaten at leisure with one's back against a sturdy tree."

--Ray Silverman "The Historian "

"This book takes away the dross of mythology, but replaces it with the realistic humanity of a most fascinating unique American... Highly recommended."


"This slim volume does many things well... In just one paragraph, the author spans five centuries of agricultural change from competing 17th century European and Native American conceptions of land ownership to the recent introduction of cleverly marketed boutique apples from South America. This breadth of argument and free interplay between topic and period are a refreshing change from the microscopic studies that have become the bread-and-butter of specialized historical journals."

--Dave Grettler "Northwest Ohio History "

"A succinct, meticulous, and fascinating triple biography of the man, the myth and the American apple--a fine contribution to cultural and horticultural history."

--Michael Kammen "New England Quarterly "

"John Chapman's life, which Kerrigan argues may have been a rejection of the growing materialism of market capitalism, tells us much about the early republic. Kerrigan's dogged research and clear, lively writing strip away the mythology to reveal an impractical and unusual, though fascinating, individual. Academics and general readers will want to add this title to their bookshelves."

--Jeff Bremer "Indiana Magazine of History "

"Clearly, Kerrigan deserves credit for carefully and skillfully piecing together a biography of John Chapman - one that departs from the caricatures of the past. Arguably, the book's true value lies elsewhere... Perhaps even more important, he exposes the political and cultural forces that transformed a humble collector and planter of apple seeds into an American icon. In so doing, he causes us to experience and appreciate places like Appleseed Park in Athens, Ohio, in altogether new and different ways."

--Geoffrey L Buckley "The AAG Review of Books "