as a function of sexual idcntitv’ and favorsrnliberal soeial and governmental policiesrnto coimteract what he sees as a malernflight from responsibility. It’s easvrnenough to argue vith his political agendas,rnbut these do not detract from arndiought-provoking book.rnBut is its thesis correct? There arc twornob ions objecHons, the first of which isrnthat Americans, in their restlessness as inrnso much else, arc not as unic|uc as the-rnlike to think. A hundred years ago, Americansrntended to portrav themselves asrnhomebodies in comparison with the imperialistrnF.uropean nations —in particularrnthe British —then marauding acrossrndie globe. Despite the o erwhelming influencernLondon had on British life, inhabitantsrnof the four island nations werernat least as active movers and seekers as thernAmericans, and their heritage of rcsflessrnnunemcut sunives toda- in the nationalrnmths of Canada and Australia. I diinkrnthat Jasper also underestimates the powerfulrnculture of movement and migrationrnriiat has always existed in Europe, andrnwhich is steadily increasing in the contextrnof Kuropeau unification. And notrnjust in Kurope: Man’ Indians and Chinesernremain happily in flicir xillages overrngenerations, but millions of others wanderrnthe world, creating ‘ast diaspora popidations.rnLike Americans, tiic seek dieirrnfortviues where the big money hues, andrnwhen political or ccononuc cireumstaneesrntuni diffieidt, the’ pull up stakesrnand moe on.rnI’m also skeptical about the wholernc|ucstion of American rootiessness. I mayrnbe prejudiced b’ my residence in Pennsrnlania, the state with the most staticrn]30]3ulation in tiie LJnitcd States. Pennsrnlanians en’ often grow up and die inrndie eomnuinities tliat their families settled,rnwhile some of the deepest-rooted ofrnthese communities are found in the mo.strnidentifiable immigrant areas of its bigrncities, such as Philadelphia. F.vcn tearingrntlie heart out of the local economy doesrnnot succeed in dri’ing them away. Nor,rnapparentK, does a lack of zeal to move onrnreflect an failure to conform to masculinernbehaior patterns. If ()u believe therncontrar’, feel free to argue the point wiflirnan inhabitant of Italian South Philadelphiarn—still one of the most fierceh closeknitrncommunities to be found an\yhere.rnA good opening gambit might be to accusernriie local residents of effeminac’ becausernflie arc too scared to move west.rnC A)<)d luck.rnNor, of coiuse, is this love of placernsolely an Last Coast phenomenon. ThernMormons may have foimd themselves inrnUtah at flic end of a classically Americanrnpiece of wandering and seeking; oncernthere, however, they soon struck deeprnroots in their beloved land of Deseret,rnforming loyalties the’ still retain despiternflieir sense of global mission. Missionariesrnsent off to Brazil or France return happilyrnto their homes and raise familiesrnwhere their great-grandparents set uprnhouse. And I am told fliat even Texans,rnthose descendants of the restless pioneers,rnstill share a certain modest pride inrnriicir state, or at least in one of its manyrncomponent regions.rnAcross the nation, wc can still findrncountless examples of such authentic localrneommmiities, varying in size fromrnwhole states to tin’ enclaves. Admittedly,rntheir distinctive identities have beenrnsteadily eroded over the decades by flicrnspread of national retail chains, genericrnfast-food restaurants, and so on. In otherrnwords, the fiictors making for restlessnessrnand lack of communal identity havernbeen increasing rapidly only in recentrn’ears, permitting Jasper to project theserntrends backward. Since local identitiesrnare weak now, he seems to argue, theyrnnever existed in flie first place. To flicrncontrary (1 suggest), Americans, havingrnso often demonstrated flicir fervent andrnirrational love for some particular chunk ofrnground with its attendant trees, riers, andrnwildlife —or with the appropriate tenements,rnsmokestacks, and mean streets, asrnthe case may be—are no different from otherrnpeoples. The’ sit comfortably at home,rnyear after year, occasionally reading accountsrnb’ better-educated liberal urbanitesrnwho seek to explain wli” Americans havernno sense of roots.rnI reject Jasper’s analysis, and naturally Irndismiss the policy formiflations he hasrnfounded upon it. Jasper wishes to createrna society leased more on the allegedlvrnfeminine values of place and stabilih, inrncontrast to what he sees as a fading masculinernresflessness characteristic of thernhistorical phase wc are moving bevond.rnReading his book, I am reminded of a bitterrnline by Ian Lleniing, who said thatrnAmericans had jsasscd straight from adolescencernto seniliti,’ wifliout experiencingrnmaturit)’. Jasjjer advocates matiuits’, butrnhis recommendations sound like a prescriptionrnfor induced national senilih’.rnPliilip ]enkins is Distinguished Professorrnof Histor}’ and Religious Studies atrnPeiuisrlvania State UniversitwrnAn AmericanrnOriginalrnby Loxley NicholsrnSister: The Life of LegendaryrnAmerican Interior DecoratorrnMrs. Henry Parish IIrnhy Apple Parish Bartlett andrnSusan Bartlett CraterrnNew York: St. Martins Press;rn357 pp., $35.00rnIn die world of blue bloods and bluernbooks, where nicknames like “Oatsie,”rn”Tootsie,” “Bunny,” and “Babe” abound,rnbeing called “Sister” isn’t particidarly unusual.rnEven in her professional life. SisterrnParish never used her given name,rnDorothy May, though regarding herrnnickname she once eommented.rnIt has not been an cross tornbear. My husband constanfly complainedrnabout the awkwardness ofrnbeing married to a woman whomrnhe called Sister. People who don’trnknow me lower their eyes in embarrassmentrnwhen the I .ord’s namernis taken in vain in my presence. Irnoften receive calls from religiousrngroups a,sking me if I’d meetrnrefugees at flie dock. And when Irnwas asked to help “do” the WhiternHouse, a newspaper headline announcedrn”Kennedys Pick Nun tornDecorate White House.”rnBeing a descendant of Cotton Maflierrnand Oliver Wolcott and the granddaughterrnof Edith Wharton’s physician hadrnmuch to do with Sister’s later success, butrnher lineage proved no protection againstrnunpromising personal beginnings. Arnplain bab- and poor student. Sisterrnseemed de.stincd for failure on all fronts.rnIn first grade, she learned that “GeorgernWashington is Jesus’ father.” Her recordrndid not improve thereafter. She spent arnsingle year at Eoxcroft, the tony finishingrnschool in the horse country of Middleburg,rnVirginia, before ending her formalrneducation without even a high-schoolrndiploma. Sister spent most of her finie atrnFoxcroft in the infirmary, where it wasrn”more comfortable” (she had learnedrnhow to induce nosebleeds by pushing arnFEBRUARY 2001/.31rnrnrn