177th out of 323 books — 159 voters
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A Treasury of American Folklore
by B.A. Botkin
This spectacular collection of five hundred stories and one hundred songs represents the best of American tall tales, yarns, myths, ballads, and more, about such legends as Buffalo Bill and Jesse James.
Hardcover, 960 pages
Published December 12th 1988 by Random House Value Publishing
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(showing 1-30 of 154)
This book is an incredible and accessible compendium of the folklore of pre-Civil War America. A rich mine for any writer, especially those concerned with American archetypes. The only caveat is the cultural mindset it reveals in its compilation of old tales and characters, especially regarding issues of ethnic identity—the author, and the older stories he collected, were products of their time, and not always in a good way.
There are some amazing stories in this book. I appreciate how well preserved the writing is. But some of the tales in here read like boring ramblings. I've gone through and folded down the pages of the good stuff and it's maybe a third of the book; the rest of it isn't much to take in.