OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

Christmas in the Crosshairs: Two Thousand Years of Denouncing and Defending the World's Most Celebrated Holiday

ISBN : 9780190499006

Price(incl.tax): 
¥4,609
Author: 
Gerry Bowler
Pages
312 Pages
Format
Hardcover
Size
165 x 235 mm
Pub date
Nov 2016
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An Anglican priest hands out brass knuckles to his congregation to guard his church from anti-Christmas fanatics. Fascists insist that the real Christmas is the Winter Solstice, while Communists stage atheist musicals outside of churches on Christmas Eve. Activists vandalize shops that set out holiday advertising in October and anti-consumerists sing parody carols in shopping malls. Is there such a thing as a War on Christmas? As Gerry Bowler demonstrates in this entertaining book, there is and always has been a War, or rather, several wars, on Christmas. Christmas, a global phenomenon adored by billions and a backbone of international trade, is the biggest single event on the planet. For Christians it is the second-most sacred date on the calendar. But whether one celebrates it or not, it engages billions of people who are caught up in its commercialism, music, sentiment, travel, and frenetic busyness. Since its controversial invention in the Roman Empire, Christmas has struggled with paganism, popular culture, fierce Christian opposition to its celebration, its abolition in Scotland and New England, and its neglect and near-death experience in the 1700s, only to be miraculously reinvented in the 1800s. The twentieth century saw it opposed by Bolsheviks, twisted by Hitler, and appropriated by every special interest group in the industrialized world. Lately it has been caught up in the cultural struggles between the left and the right in America, often misinterpreted as a war on Christmas, when the fight is really over whether religion in general will be allowed a public face. Gerry Bowler tells the fascinating story of the tug-of-war over Christmas, replete with cross-dressing priests, ranting Puritans, atheist witches, the League of the Militant Godless, aesthetic terrorists in Quebec and rap-singing Santa killers in Spain.

Index: 

Acknowledgements
Introduction
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
Notes
Index

About the author: 

Gerry Bowler is a Canadian historian whose research focus on the intersection of religion and popular culture, especially Christmas. He has taught at a number of universities in western Canada and spent 25 years with the University of Manitoba as a Professor of History.

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