Book Review: American Myths, Legends, and Tall Tales: An Encyclopedia of American Folklore

Jennifer A. Bartlett


Compilations of American folklore are constantly being rewritten to reflect the increasing diversity and variety of American culture. Many readers grew up with Benjamin Botkin’s classic collection A Treasury of American Folklore (Crown 1944), which featured a foreword written by Carl Sandburg and stories about Pecos Bill, Johnny Appleseed, Brer Rabbit and other popular myths, legends, and tall tales. Today, new legends are entering the folklore lexicon to reflect the influence of urban myths, historical events, science fiction, conspiracy theories, and mass media. This three-volume set offers a fascinating look at both traditional and newer folklore, including “Internet Hoaxes,” the “John Lennon shooting,” “Roswell,” and “Slender Man.”

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