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The Man Who Invented Christmas

How Charles Dickens's a Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


As uplifting as the tale of Scrooge itself, this is the story of how one writer and one book revived the signal holiday of the Western world.

Just before Christmas in 1843, a debt-ridden and dispirited Charles Dickens wrote a small book he hoped would keep his creditors at bay. His publisher turned it down, so Dickens used what little money he had to put out A Christmas Carol himself. He worried it might be the end of his career as a novelist.

The book immediately caused a sensation. And it breathed new life into a holiday that had fallen into disfavor, undermined by lingering Puritanism and the cold modernity of the Industrial Revolution. It was a harsh and dreary age, in desperate need of spiritual renewal, ready to embrace a book that ended with blessings for one and all.

With warmth, wit, and an infusion of Christmas cheer, Les Standiford whisks us back to Victorian England, its most beloved storyteller, and the birth of the Christmas we know best. The Man Who Invented Christmas is a rich and satisfying read for Scrooges and sentimentalists alike.

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Sep 01, 2008 – Charles Dickens was almost 32 in late 1843, and his career trajectory was downward. Since the megasuccess of The Old Curiosity Shop, dwindling sales of his work and problems with his publisher left little doubt in his mind: he would support his growing household as a travel writer on the Continent. As the disappointing Martin Chuzzlewit continued its serialization, A Christmas Carol appeared in a richly illustrated edition. Although initial sales were brisk, high production costs coupled with spotty advertising and a low retail price made the book unprofitable. But, says Standiford, this modern fable had a profound impact on Anglo-American culture and its author's career. If Dickens did not precisely invent Christmas, his ghost story created a new framework for celebrating it. Standiford (The Last Train to Paradise) covers an impressive amount of ground, from the theological underpinnings of Christmas to Dickens's rocky relations with America, evolving copyright laws and an explanation of how A Christmas Carol became responsible for the slaughter of more turkeys than geese in the months of November and December.

Customer Reviews

The true meaning....

A fascinating study of the man, the myth, his virtues, and his vices as told through his greatest novel: Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol. The Man Who Invented Christmas presents the history of the period, as well as the life of the man who created his "little carol." While we all have heard, read, or seen various adaptations of the story, the interesting part of this book, allows you to feel like you're there - you can get a sense of what Dickens went through, what he was thinking, and most importantly, what were the consequences of his writings and actions. I recommend this book highly, as through reading it, you will gain a more knowledgeable appreciation of the man and his book, while perhaps gaining some insight as to the endearing quality of a novel, that we all have read so many times, whether young or old. I promise, it will make you pick up a copy of A Christmas Carol, to read it again.....for the first time!

Very enjoyable read.

Very interesting & informative with facts and comments regarding the way things were back then as compared to our current times. So glad I found this book to enjoy!

The Man Who Invented Christmas
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Nov 04, 2008
  • Publisher: Crown/Archetype
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings