Homesickness tends to be regarded as a childish trait in America today. It is rarely talked of. If mentioned, those experiencing pangs for home are often advised to think of the strength of the early Colonists and demonstrate a so-called “pioneer spirit”.
In contrast, Susan J. Matt explores the yearning for home felt by those arriving in early America. The homesickness felt by Native Americans, displaced by these settlers and that of Slaves is also noted by the author.
Matt highlights, that even as late as the 19th Century, homesickness was taken so seriously in America that some military bands were not allowed to play “Home Sweet Home” in case soldiers were struck by a longing for home. Indeed, “nostalgia”, as homesickness was commonly known as then, was seen as deadly by some.
Using letters, diaries, medical records, and psychological studies, the author argues that Americans have only gradually learnt their famed individualism. This fascinating study examines the reasons for this and also looks at how strong ties to home can still be felt Americans today.
You can find further details of Homesickness : an American history on our catalogue.