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Christmas in the Crosshairs


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Table of Contents

Chapter I: The Inventors
Chapter II: The Revivalists
Chapter III: The Tyrants
Chapter IV: The Godly and the Godless
Chapter V: The Appropriators
Chapter VI: The Discontented
Chapter VII: The Privatizers
A Brief Epilog

About the Author

Gerry Bowler is a Canadian historian specializing in the intersection of religion and popular culture. His Ph.D. is from King's College, London and he is the author of Europe in the Sixteenth Century, The World Encyclopedia of Christmas, and Santa Claus: A Biography.


"Yes, Virginia, there is a war against Christmas, and it has been waged for hundreds of years, as Gerry Bowler demonstrates in this eye-opening, lively, meticulously researched history. Christmas haters include Hitler, Puritans and the Westboro Baptist Church, pushing draconian laws or composing vulgar anti-holiday ditties. Against them stand Charles Dickens, Clement Moore, and large dollops of good will and common sense. Bowler details the clashes down the
centuries with verve and intelligence; this is a masterful achievement." --Philip Zaleski, co-author of The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield,
Charles Williams
"Of all the culture wars afflicting America, the so-called war on Christmas can seem like a lightweight addition - a fluffy media concoction more than a substantial religious protest. Christmas in the Crosshairs gives historical heft and global perspective to the millennia-long battles over the holiday. At every turn Bowler's vivid account delivers needed depth and nuance to the current frays over the festival." --Leigh Eric Schmidt, Edward C.
Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor, Washington University in St. Louis
"St. Augustine. John Chrysostom. The Puritans. Washington Irving. African Americans. Fidel Castro. Anti-consumer advocates. Westboro Baptist Church. Fox News. They have all, at one time or another, been caught in the 'crosshairs' of debates over the celebration of Christmas. Gerry Bowler's latest book teaches us that the so-called 'wars on Christmas' have a long and fascinating history." --John Fea, Professor of American History, Messiah College
"Bowler takes a seemingly modern topic -- the vilification of Christmas -- and shows it to have a centuries-old history. His survey of the issue covers everything from the deadly serious to the absurd, and it will leave readers amazed at the holiday's ability to not only persist, but to thrive worldwide... enlightening and entertaining." --Kirkus Reviews
"This scholarly, informative, and entertaining work is a wonderful antidote for anyone sick of all of the fuss who wants to enjoy Christmas, or at least tolerate it with good humor." --Library Journal
"Christmas in the Crosshairs: Two Thousand Years of Denouncing and Defending the World's Most Celebrated Holiday chronicles a mind-boggling array of conflicts stretching from the ancient world to today." --Christianity Today
"The refreshing takeaway of Christmas in the Crosshairs is that most contemporary agita about Christmas' supposed decline is misplaced. . . . [Bowler] is a lively guide." --Slate

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