Posted on December 17, 2015
The Santa Claus Man got a terrific review in Library Journal. Beth Farrell, of the Cleveland State University Law Library, had these kind words to say about the book and Eric Michael Summerer's performance on the audiobook:
Palmer (Weird-o-Pedia) offers an engaging history of early 20th-century New York City and the modern notion of Santa Claus, as well as an entertaining biography of his great-grand uncle John Duval Gluck Jr. In 1913, after learning that hundreds of letters written by New York City’s children to Santa went unanswered every year, Gluck formed the Santa Claus Association, receiving the blessing of the U.S. Postal Service. Gluck, a small-time businessman who had inherited his father’s custom brokerage firm, assembled a team of volunteers who carefully read each letter, flagging any requests that seemed to be from children of means, any repeat requests, or any accounts of starvation, homelessness, or abuse; these latter were forwarded to the Public Charities Commission for further investigation. Letters that successfully made it through the initial screening process were matched up with volunteer donors who had agreed to buy presents for needy children. It was a well-oiled philanthropic machine—until the con man in Gluck couldn’t resist using the charity to gather and promote side business opportunities, increase his standing in New York society, and, eventually, just flat-out line his pockets. Intriguing stories of stolen art, gun-toting Boy Scouts, a child’s kidnapping, Clement Clarke Moore’s writing of A Visit from St Nicholas and the World War I Christmas Day armistice are among the many stories woven into Palmer’s larger account of how Christmas evolved into the celebration we now know. Eric Michael Summerer smoothly delivers this thoroughly enjoyable work.
Verdict Highly recommended for history fans.