Until now I’ve been especially interested in Clement C. Moore and his transcendent poem The Night Before Christmas. Tom Jerman puts Moore’s classic in perspective with a broad and highly informative look at the international history of Santa Claus. For my own understanding of Moore’s poem, the chapters on Washington Irving and “Old Santeclaus” as uniquely presented in the Children’s Friend have been most helpful. And provocative, too, since Jerman does not merely paraphrase the work of others. Beyond that, this book is teaching me a lot about European and pre- Christian traditions and influences. Not to mention the best treatments ever of Bad Santas and Oddball Santas and all kinds of evil helpers. Overall I found SANTA CLAUS WORLDWIDE to be entertaining, persuasive, and in places hilarious! So refreshing to find solid evidence and arguments presented in non-academic language. All that and loaded with uncommonly good pictures, way more than usual. What’s not to love?

Scott Norsworthy