Shopping Cart Link

University Press of New England

Sign up for our newsletter

Bookmark and Share
Cart link
Paperback add to cart

For Educators
View cart
Add exam ebook
Cover image Click for larger image

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
An American Hero
Ronald D. Lankford, Jr.

2016 • 224 pp. 78 full-color illus. 7 x 8"
Popular Culture / Social History / 20th Century U.S. History

$22.95 Paperback, 978-1-61168-735-4
$17.99 Ebook, 978-1-61168-975-4

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“The Rudolph saga turns out to be more interesting than one might expect—a parable of American commerce cloaked in benevolence. . . . With commendable energy, Mr... [continued in Reviews below]”—Wall Street Journal

The amazing story behind the classic Christmas character

Ronald D. Lankford has written the definitive history of this iconic and much-loved Christmas character. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was the creation of Robert May, a staff copywriter who wrote the original poem as a Montgomery Ward Christmas giveaway in 1939. More than 2.4 million copies were printed and given away that holiday season. Thus the legend began. Johnny Marks adapted the poem into what would become the Gene Autry hit “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” which instantly became—and still remains—one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time. The legend of Rudolph soared even higher with the Rankin/Bass stop-motion television special in 1964, which has gone on to inspire a cottage industry of toys and decorative items. In this festive and informed look at the most famous reindeer of all, Lankford discusses all of Rudolph’s iterations, including comic books, sequels, advertising tie-ins, movies, and much more. Lankford has produced the first complete history of Rudolph that both celebrates and explains the undying popularity of Rudolph and his friends. The result is both a glowing tribute and a rigorously researched biography that will appeal to fans and lovers of classic American holiday culture.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“The Rudolph saga turns out to be more interesting than one might expect—a parable of American commerce cloaked in benevolence. . . . With commendable energy, Mr. Lankford tracks down every Rudolph lead he can find and even resolves conflicting accounts. This can be heavy going for all but the obsessive Rudolphophile. But he also explores the big questions. He shows how the postwar baby boom creates a vast audience for a new children’s character and argues that Rudolph appeals to Americans because the story is actually an inspirational Horatio Alger tale of pluck and luck leading to unlikely success.”

Wall Street Journal

"Engaging and informative. . . . Lankford’s book, and its lush illustrations, provides a peerless look at a bygone time."—Washington Post

RONALD D. LANKFORD JR. is an author and independent scholar who lives in Appomattox, Virginia. He is the author of Women Singer-Songwriters in Rock: A Populist Rebellion in the 1990s, Folk Music USA: The Changing Voice of Protest, and Sleigh Rides, Jingle Bells, and Silent Nights: A Cultural History of American Christmas Songs.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 13:27:03 -0500