... less an examination of traditions and techniques than a blow-by-blow chronicle of this country through the lens of craft, from the European settlers to the maker movement and so-called craftivists of today. That no one has ever previously attempted this may be because when we bother to think about craft at all, it is usually through a gauzy haze. Yet Adamson manages to discover 'making' in every aspect of our history, framing it as integral to America’s idea of itself as a nation of self-sufficient individualists. There may be no one better suited to this task ... This is, however, no feel-good quilting circle of a book. Craft aims to reckon with the shameful way we have treated and viewed those who handbuilt the country: Indigenous people, African-Americans, women and the working class.
... long and roving chapters ... Adamson is a curator and some of the book’s most lively moments come when he is describing an object ... From enslaved craftspeople inciting rebellion to the ubiquity of the postwar amateur craft craze, from wampum to studio pottery, this is a celebratory history of craft’s potential to liberate America from its racism, xenophobia, and sexism.