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Santa: A Life by Jeremy Seal
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Santa: A Life

by Jeremy Seal

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The descriptions of Turkey are wonderful! It was nice to feel as though I was traveling while reading a book. I especially like the author's visit to the rooftop chapel, Lapland, and the bus ride through England. The descriptions of Italy could have been better.

I thought that the narration was a bit strange. The author has written the book as though St. Nicholas intended to become famous and morph into Santa Claus.

I would not recommend this book for children because it makes several references to prostitution and contains quotes with foul language in one chapter. However, the story of St. Nicholas could not be told without mention of that theme. ( )
  RKoletteL | Aug 22, 2013 |
Not really about "SANTA," this book traces the history of the spread of influence of St. Nicholas from present-day Turkey to Greece, Italy, and Russia, and then into the Netherlands. Only then, in the closing chapters of the book, does the concept of the gift-giving "SANTA" come into play. Interesting, but a bit misleading as to the title and cover. The history of Santa is only briefly covered. ( )
  waitingtoderail | Dec 19, 2011 |
Not what I expected, but an interesting read nonetheless. It traces the familiar Christmas figure from his humble beginnings as Nicholas of Myra, sainted for working miracles and for acts of great generosity and charity. It follows the path his name took after his death, and how his bones were moved from place to place as miraculous relics. These chapters grew difficult to follow at times because of the many ancient and religious groups mentioned, and the sheer number of unfamiliar place names. Seal’s tendency to talk about the long-dead Nicholas as if he were consciously moving from place to place in his need to make his name known was also irritating.

The last few chapters were more enjoyable, as the story grew more familiar and a recognisable Father Christmas emerged. The rise of commercialism and Santa’s settling in Lapland are explored, as well as how the modern child relates to him. Here I had hoped for a little more analysis of Santa as a commercial phenomenon, and of his various incarnations around the modern world – but I enjoyed it anyway, particularly the magical moment when Seal’s daughters meet Santa in a little wooden forest hut in Lapland… A worthwhile December read. ( )
  elliepotten | Jun 10, 2009 |
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"Santa: A Life" is the title the author himself uses on his website.
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In this enthralling blend of history, travelogue and family memoir Jeremy Seal traces the 1700 year odyssey of the modern age's greatest myth.

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