Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend

Joshua Blu Buhs

Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend

Last August, two men in rural Georgia announced that they had killed Bigfoot. The claim drew instant, feverish attention, leading to more than a thousand news stories worldwide - despite the fact that nearly everyone knew it was a hoax. Though Bigfoot may not exist, there's no denying Bigfoot mania. With "Bigfoot", Joshua Blu Buhs traces the wild and woolly story of America's favorite homegrown monster. He begins with nineteenth-century accounts of wildmen roaming the forests of America, treks to the Himalayas to reckon with the Abominable Snowman, then takes us to northern California in 1958, when reports of a hairy hominid loping through remote woodlands marked Bigfoot's emergence as a modern marvel. Buhs delves deeply into the trove of lore and misinformation that has sprung up around Bigfoot in the ensuing half century. We meet charlatans, pseudoscientists, and dedicated hunters of the beast - and with Buhs as our guide, the focus is always less on evaluating their claims than on understanding why Bigfoot has inspired so much drama and devotion in the first place. What does our fascination with this monster say about our modern relationship to wilderness, individuality, class, consumerism, and the media? 3.2 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Paranormal & Supernatural
Format Hardback
Pages 304
RRP £20.00
Date of Publication June 2009
ISBN 978-0226079790
Publisher Chicago University Press
 

Last August, two men in rural Georgia announced that they had killed Bigfoot. The claim drew instant, feverish attention, leading to more than a thousand news stories worldwide - despite the fact that nearly everyone knew it was a hoax. Though Bigfoot may not exist, there's no denying Bigfoot mania. With "Bigfoot", Joshua Blu Buhs traces the wild and woolly story of America's favorite homegrown monster. He begins with nineteenth-century accounts of wildmen roaming the forests of America, treks to the Himalayas to reckon with the Abominable Snowman, then takes us to northern California in 1958, when reports of a hairy hominid loping through remote woodlands marked Bigfoot's emergence as a modern marvel. Buhs delves deeply into the trove of lore and misinformation that has sprung up around Bigfoot in the ensuing half century. We meet charlatans, pseudoscientists, and dedicated hunters of the beast - and with Buhs as our guide, the focus is always less on evaluating their claims than on understanding why Bigfoot has inspired so much drama and devotion in the first place. What does our fascination with this monster say about our modern relationship to wilderness, individuality, class, consumerism, and the media?

Read the first chapter on the New York Times website

Reviews

The New York Times

Florence Williams

Devotees of Sasquatchiana won’t be disappointed... As amusing as these accounts are, Buhs’s more serious interest lies not in the ape but in the white working-class men who were the beast’s advocates, hoaxers, hunters and most ardent consumers... Viewing predator-fantasy through a class lens is fresh and interesting, but Buhs overdoes it. Everybody loves a good monster tale.

05/06/2009

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The Sunday Telegraph

Philip Hoare

In his postmodern attempt to pin down Bigfoot, Buhs’s focus is on the hunters, rather than the hunted; this is not so much a book about Bigfoot as the belief in him. Yet Buhs certainly has a lot of fun along the way... Ultimately, the rational mind must agree with Buhs – that Bigfoot is a cultural creation of man, rather than a natural creation of God (or a cul-de-sac of natural selection). Yet the romantic in this reviewer is left with the lingering hope that somewhere out there, a big hairy hominid is stalking the wilderness. Just to prove everyone wrong.

06/07/2009

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The Washington Post

David Laskin

...intermittently engaging... Buhs even elaborates a high-minded sociocultural-economic thesis to give the enterprise weight and authority... Fortunately, for most of the book, Buhs leaves that thesis in the background and focuses instead on the adventures of a large, loopy cast of misfits, dreamers, drifters, hucksters, passionate amateurs and wild-eyed anthropologists.

02/05/2009

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The New Yorker

Books Briefly Noted

The book is most interesting when revisiting men’s adventure magazines and rural “four-waller” movies. It is silliest when asserting that “by imagining themselves into the body of Sasquatch, white working-class men could imagine themselves as black, as women, could come in contact with their own souls.”

06/07/2009

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