Well-written works about the history of knitting deserve to be on every knitter's bookshelf, or at least on his or her mind.
Knitting America: A Glorious Heritage from Warm Socks to High Art merits inclusion among the best knitting history books: A History of Handknitting by Richard Rutt and Knitting in America by Melanie Falick.
One could read all three, back to back, and not feel that there is too much repetition.
In short, I would sum up the three books this way:
- Richard Rutt brings an amateur historian's eye to secondary and primary sources about the history of knitting, but has very little to say about knitting in the United States.
- Melanie Falick's book is more of a snapshot of American knitting, at a particular moment in time.
- Knitting America is more of a sweeping history of knitting in this country, with a lot of really fun archival photos and some historical knitting designs, to boot. (A lot of the photos are from Minnesota, which makes sense, since Voyageur Press is in St. Paul.)
I found the section on the Civil War especially interesting, but I think anyone who wants to learn more about American History and Knitting would really enjoy this book.
Just a quick note about formats. I ended up getting access to both the electronic and the hardcover copies. Actually, I could only read the electronic copy on my computer, since the file was too large to download directly to my iPad. It seemed to work well, but I found the large page size awkward to reach on a computer screen. So, if you are choosing between formats, at least this time, I recommend a paper copy of the book.
Overall, the book feels complete without being ponderous and the large format means that photographs are huge and appealing on the page. A really nice read for the nerd and enthusiast within any knitter.