Saturday, May 14, 2011

What is Howard Means reading?

Today's featured contributor at Writers Read: Howard Means, author of Johnny Appleseed: The Man, the Myth, the American Story.

His entry begins:
Right now, I’m about 50 pages from the end of Sebastian Junger’s War. Got to say that I tackled the book without a lot of enthusiasm. I’m reading it for a book club and figured it was one more embedded-journalist, controlled-access tale. But I’ve been pretty much blown away by it – great detail, great empathy, and the added poignancy of knowing that Tim Hetherington, Junger’s colleague on this project (they were simultaneously shooting the documentary Restrepo), was recently killed while filming yet another war, this one in Libya.

Before War,...[read on]
Among the early praise for Johnny Appleseed:
“Delightfully wry and perceptive, Means’s quest to understand Chapman/Appleseed is a captivating achievement in Americana.”
Booklist (starred review)

“Finally, the cliché is peeled away and the essence of this utterly American character is so revealing. John Chapman comes alive here and it is a thrilling experience to escape the specific gravity of the decades of myth.”
—Ken Burns, director of The Civil War and Baseball

“We all know the caricature, but few of us know the man. Howard Means produces a feast of a story that strips away the myths of this folk-tale hero and gives us the real John Chapman and the rough-and-tumble world he lived in. This is a thoroughly fascinating and fun book.”
—Jay Winik, author of April 1865 and The Great Upheaval

“Johnny Appleseed is one of the great myths of our childhood. With insight and a lively touch, Howard Means tells us the story of the real Johnny Appleseed, John Chapman, a mystic and visionary who turns out to be a most memorable American character.”
—Evan Thomas, author of The War Lovers
Learn more about the book and author at Howard Means's website.

The Page 99 Test: Johnny Appleseed.

Writers Read: Howard Means.

--Marshal Zeringue