Illustrated by Ethan Nicolle, Gumption combines serious history with lighthearted humor—comparing, say, Benjamin Franklin’s abstinence from daytime drinking to my own sagacious refusal to join my construction crew in getting plastered on the way to work.
The subjects of this book allow me to expound upon many of my favorite topics such as religion, politics, woodworking, agriculture, creativity, philosophy, fashion, and, of course, meat.
From the Sleeve
To millions of readers and viewers, Nick Offerman reminds them of what they love about America: Craggy features draped in verdant foliage. A healthy supply of fresh meat and deciduous hardwoods. The grizzly bear and the beaver. The persistent breeze.
As a humorist, woodworker, and actor, Offerman aspires to remind us of our obligation to nurture those very American qualities that we adore. Liberty. Hard work. Decency. A love of creativity and telling it like it is. A reverence for the natural resources and beauty that surround all of us. And, of course, the pith required to stand up for those things.
As a reasonably flawed human being, Offerman relies upon the inspiration of great Americans to keep him on the straight and narrow. Twenty-one of them, to be precise.
- George Washington's vocabulary and strapping muscle
- Benjamin Franklin's ingenuity, diplomacy, and thoughts on farting
- Frederick Douglass's self-education, erudition, and boatbuilding
- Theodore Roosevelt's passion for the outdoors, face-punching, and resemblance to the Bull Moose
- Wendell Berry's venerable talent as a writer, moralist, farmer, and chuckle-smith
- Michael Pollan's intrepid social research on where to find good food and how to eat it, and also his nice teeth
- Yoko Ono's visionary artworks and unrelenting commitment to imagine peace
- Jeff Tweedy's beautiful face and equally lovely stance that creating art is the best defense against political malaise
Offerman's particular perspective on each subject, rendered with pork-fueled insight, mirth, and the knack for coming across impolitely without being rude makes for elucidating, amusing, and celebratory portraits of his esteemed troublemakers, suggesting to us in no uncertain terms that gumption is precisely the trait that all of us must foster—including America herself—if we ever hope to attain true greatness.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Freemasons
- George Washington
- Benjamin Franklin
- James Madison
- Frederick Douglass
Part 2: Idealists
- Theodore Roosevelt
- Frederick Law Olmsted
- Eleanor Roosevelt
- Tom Laughlin
- Wendell Berry
- Barney Frank
- Yoko Ono
- Michael Pollan
Part 3: Makers
- Thomas Lie-Nielsen
- Nat Benjamin
- George Nakashima
- Carol Burnett
- Jeff Tweedy
- George Saunders
- Laurie Anderson
- Willie Nelson
- Conan O’Brien
Praise for The Book
Take it from us; Offerman's take on American history is worth reading.
What emerges is a deep respect for the individuals Offerman high-lights, but it's impossible not to respect Offerman himself and the abiding egalitarian spirit that guides him and 'gumptionators' everywhere. He writes with both humor and gravity.... Here is a man fully engaged with the world beyond Hollywood, who shares the individuality, the authenticity, and the love of the outdoors with the people he most admires
As full of heart as Swanson's face was full of moustache—which is to say, very.
Offerman's way of looking at American history, culture, and intellectuals is unique and interesting... Humor and genuine passion make Gumption a very readable book.