Book Review: Artifacts from Modern America

Tracy Carr


If one were to land on Earth from another planet and were curious about how and why Americans used microwaves, cellophane, or penicillin, one’s alien curiosity might be sated with Artifacts from Modern America by Helen Sheumaker. This look at the twentieth century’s material culture approaches each artifact in the same manner medieval farming tools might be approached: with physical descriptions of the artifacts, as well as context about the long-ago humans who might have used, seen, or experienced them.

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