Title: And the Pursuit of Happiness
Author: Maira Kalman
Publisher: Penguin Press HC
Publication Date: October 14, 2010
Hardcover: 480 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
With her trademark style, wit, sensitivity, and spontaneity, Maira Kalman guides a whirlwind tour of American democracy.
And the Pursuit of Happiness is beloved artist and author Maira Kalman’s yearlong investigation of democracy and how it works. Energized and inspired by the 2008 elections, on inauguration day Kalman traveled to Washington, D.C., launching a national tour that would take her from a town hall meeting in Newfane, Vermont, to the inner chambers of the Supreme Court.
As we follow Kalman’s wholly idiosyncratic journey, we fall in love with Lincoln alongside her as she imagines making a home for herself in the center of his magisterial memorial; ponder Alexis de Tocqueville’s America; witness the inner workings of a Bronx middle-school student council; take a high-speed lesson in great American women in the National Portrait Gallery; and consider the cost of war to the brave American service families of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The observations she makes as she travels charm and inform, and-as we have come to expect with Kalman-the route is always one of fascinating indirection.
Kalman finds evidence of democracy at work all around us. And the cast of characters we meet along the way is rousing good company, featuring visits from Benjamin Franklin, Eleanor Roosevelt, and many others. And the Pursuit of Happiness is a remarkable tribute to our history and a powerful reminder of the potential our future holds, from a true national treasure.
What at first appears to be a very thick and exquisitely illustrated book for children is in fact a brilliantly well-written book for adults about Democracy and the founding fathers of the United States of America. And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman is an exquisite addition to any library, as she takes the reader through the history of the founding of democracy, details from quite serious to quirky about our founding fathers along with important historical events from around the world. Kalman is a gifted illustrator and writer, making history fascinating for even those who may think the lives of the founding fathers could be at all interesting. And the Pursuit of Happiness delves even farther and takes a look at recent history with a hope for the future in a light and refreshing manner. Kalman’s book is one I truly enjoyed and had to go through a few times to catch everything in the illustrations as well as in the words, and she likes Nabokov! She also has quite a way to make the reader hungry, at least this reader! I would recommend And the Pursuit of Happiness for all readers, young and old, history buffs or not, for it is a lovely look at this country’s pursuit of happiness.
Maira Kalman is an illustrator, author, and designer. She is the author of The Principles of Uncertainty and she illustrated the bestselling edition of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. Ms. Kalman’s twelve children’s books include Max Makes a Million, Stay Up Late, Swami on Rye, and What Pete Ate. She also has designed fabric for Isaac Mizrahi, accessories for Kate Spade, sets for the Mark Morris Dance Company, and, with her late husband Tibor Kalman under the M&Co. label, clocks, umbrellas, and other accessories for the Museum of Modern Art. Ms. Kalman’s work is shown at the Julie Saul Gallery in Manhattan.
For more reviews of the book, please follow the book tour.
I received a complimentary copy of And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman from TLC Book Tours to be a part of this tour and offer my honest review of the book. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.