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May 03 , 2010

Out of the Northwoods

The Many Lives of Paul Bunyan, With More Than 100 Logging Camp Tales


Every American has heard of the lumberjack hero Paul Bunyan and his big blue ox. For 100 years his exploits filled cartoons, magazines, short stories, and children's books, and his name advertised everything from pancake breakfasts to construction supplies. By 1950 Bunyan was a ubiquitous icon of America's strength and ingenuity. Until now, no one knew where he came from—and the extent to which this mythical hero is rooted in Wisconsin. 

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Out of the Northwoods presents the culture of nineteenth-century lumberjacks in their own words. It includes eyewitness accounts of how the first Bunyan stories were shared on frigid winter nights, around logging camp stoves, in the Wisconsin pinery. It describes where the tales began, how they moved out of the forest and into print, and why publication changed them forever. Part bibliographic mystery and part social history, Out of the Northwoods explains for the first time why we all know and love Paul Bunyan.

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