Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend

Paperback | September 1, 2010

byJoshua Blu Buhs

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Last August, two men in rural Georgia announced that they had killed Bigfoot. The claim drew instant, feverish attention, leading to more than 1,000 news stories worldwide—despite the fact that nearly everyone knew it was a hoax. Though Bigfoot may not exist, there’s no denying Bigfoot mania.

With Bigfoot, Joshua Blu Buhs traces the wild and wooly story of America’s favorite homegrown monster. He begins with nineteenth-century accounts of wildmen roaming the forests of America, treks to the Himalayas to reckon with the Abominable Snowman, then takes us to northern California in 1958, when reports of a hairy hominid loping through remote woodlands marked Bigfoot’s emergence as a modern marvel. Buhs delves deeply into the trove of lore and misinformation that has sprung up around Bigfoot in the ensuing half century. We meet charlatans, pseudo-scientists, and dedicated hunters of the beast—and with Buhs as our guide, the focus is always less on evaluating their claims than on understanding why Bigfoot has inspired all this drama and devotion in the first place. What does our fascination with this monster say about our modern relationship to wilderness, individuality, class, consumerism, and the media?

Writing with a scientist’s skepticism but an enthusiast’s deep engagement, Buhs invests the story of Bigfoot with the detail and power of a novel, offering the definitive take on this elusive beast.

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From the Publisher

Last August, two men in rural Georgia announced that they had killed Bigfoot. The claim drew instant, feverish attention, leading to more than 1,000 news stories worldwide—despite the fact that nearly everyone knew it was a hoax. Though Bigfoot may not exist, there’s no denying Bigfoot mania.With Bigfoot, Joshua Blu Buhs traces the wil...

Joshua Blu Buhs is an independent scholar and the author of The Fire Ant Wars, also published by the University of Chicago Press.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:296 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:September 1, 2010Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226079805

ISBN - 13:9780226079806

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Table of Contents

Preface
Dramatis Personae
 
1 Wildmen
            Wildmen through History
            What-Is-It
            The Abominable Snowman
            The Life and Times of Bigfoot
2 Yeti: 1951–1959
            Sensation
            The Yeti, Science, and Zadig’s Method
            Britain Hunts the Yeti
            America Hunts the Yeti
            What the Evidence Told
3 Sasquatch: 1929–1958
            The Great Sasquatch Hunt
            The Kidnapping of Albert Ostman
            “Occam’s Razor Cuts on the Side of the Sasquatch”
            Slick Eyes the Sasquatch
4 Big Foot: 1958
            The Folkloric Origins of Bigfoot
            Big Foot Makes the Papers
            The Confirmed and Converted Confront Bigfoot
            Humbug!
            “Maybe Bigfoot is Lost Relative of Old ‘Sasquatch’”
5 ABSMery: 1959–1961
            The (Weird, Wacky) Wonderful World of Ivan T. Sanderson
            ABSMery
            The Pacific Northwest Expedition
            Enter Peter Byrne
            The Wipe: Or True’s Trouble with Truth, and Ivan Sanderson’s
6 Melting the Snowman: 1961–1967
            Melting the Snowman
            Sanderson’s Failed Debunking of the Debunking
            The Quiet Years
            Big Foot Daze
7 The Return of Bigfoot: 1967–1980
            Bigfoot Filmed!
            Making Sense of the Movie
            The Return of Bigfoot
            Bozo, the Minnesota Iceman
            Bigfoot on Tour
            The Secret of Sasquatch
8 A Contest for Dignity: 1969–1977
            The Bigfoot Community
            Cripplefoot
            The Center that Wasn’t
            Hoaxing, the Unconquerable Problem
            The Laugher Curtain
9 Cryptozoology: 1978–1990
            Grover Krantz, Sasquatch Scientist
            Anthropology of the Unknown
            Cryptozoology
            Science Police
            “Definitive Proof”
            Arrested by the Science Police
10 The Death of Bigfoot? 1980–2002
            The Green Man
            The Death of Bigfoot
            “The Most Abominable Hoaxer”
            Bigfoot is Dead! Long Live Bigfoot!
            Not The End, but An End
            Curse of the Sasquatch
 
Bibliography
            Archival Collections
            Select Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

"[Bigfoot] is an oversized footprint of Americana, and a fun read. Bigfoot may not be stomping through the American wilderness, but his legend still lives in the forests of our imagination."