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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hidden in Plain Sight - Virtual Book Tour - Book Review

Hidden in Plain Sight
Virtual Book Tour
Book Review

UPDATE, 22 Feb 2014: This book was selected to: Kirkus Review's Best Books of 2013!
See image of award letter, below...

I am pleased to participate in the Hidden in Plain Sight book tour that began with Teddy Rose's "So Many Precious Books, So Little Time, " on February 6.

Book Description:

Publisher: Informed Decisions Publishing, October 8, 2013

Category: Nonfiction - multicultural; cultural/social issues; biography & memoirs; art criticism

Tour Dates: February, 2014

Available in: ebook, 143 pages

Norman Rockwell's America was not all white. As early as 1936, Rockwell was portraying people of color with empathy and a dignity often denied them at the time. And he created these portraits from live models.

Hidden in Plain Sight: The Other People in Norman Rockwell's America unfolds, for the first time, the stories of the Asian, African, and Native Americans who modeled for Norman Rockwell. These people of color, though often hidden in plain sight, are present throughout Rockwell's more than 4000 illustrations. People like the John Lane family, Navajos poignantly depicted in the virtually unknown Norman Rockwell painting, "Glen Canyon Dam." People like Isaac Crawford, a ten year old African-American Boy Scout who helped Norman Rockwell finally integrate the Boy Scout calendar.

In this engrossing and often humorous narrative, Jane Allen Petrick explores what motivated Norman Rockwell to slip people of color "into the picture" in the first place. And in so doing, she persuasively documents the famous illustrator's deep commitment to and pointed portrayals of ethnic tolerance, portrayals that up to now have been, as Norman Rockwell biographer Laura Claridge so clearly put it, "bizarrely neglected".

Hidden in Plain Sight: The Other People in Norman Rockwell's America is an eye opener for everyone who loves Norman Rockwell, everyone who hates Norman Rockwell and for all those people in between who never thought much about Norman Rockwell because they believed Norman Rockwell never thought much about them. This book will expand the way you think about Norman Rockwell. And it will deepen the way you think about Norman Rockwell's America.

About Jane Allen Petrick:

Jane Allen Petrick is the author of several books on topics ranging from biography to workplace issues. She was a bi-weekly columnist for the Knight Ridder Newswire, and her articles have appeared in numerous publications including theNew York Times, the Denver Post and theWashington Post.  Kirkus Review describes her book, Hidden in Plain Sight: The Other People in Norman Rockwell's America as "smart, nuanced" and written with "clarity and insight."

Born and raised in Connecticut, Jane earned a BA in economics from Barnard College and received her Ph.D. in organizational psychology from Saybrook University. Retired as a vice-president of ATT Wireless, she is now an adjunct professor at Capella and American Sentinel Universities, and has provided consultation in organizational behavior and diversity competence to numerous corporate clients including IBM, Nextel and Xerox.

Jane Allen Petrick was chosen as one of the "100 Best and Brightest Business Women in America" by Ebony Magazine.

Long a passionate supporter of cultural and historic preservation, Jane has contributed to local preservation efforts in both Florida and New York State. A licensed tour director, Jane conducts cultural heritage tours on the East Coast, from the Everglades to the Maritimes.

Jane and her husband, Kalle, divide their time between New York's Hudson Valley and Miami, Florida.



My thoughts on Hidden in Plain Sight:

First, be sure to read the epilogue to get more insight into the process that lies behind this book. I always appreciate hearing this kind of honestly from the author of book I read, especially one I enjoy reading.

Second, it was quickly apparent that I was not "the normal Norman Rockwell fan" that much of the intensity of the book is directed toward - I was quite aware of all the minorities and persons of color that have appeared in his paintings over many years. I followed Rockwell, for many, many years, and have likely seen most of the images he created - yes, I'm old! The author seems to writing this book for someone else. I even, recently, had the honor of visiting the Norman Rockwell Exhhibit at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, in Bentonville, Arkansas. The link takes you to the article I wrote about my visit and includes a number of photographs. Many of the images of his work on display featured a variety of people of color.

So, my primary interest was in reading about the many people featured in this book as models for Norman Rockwell and especially the actual interviews that provided background of the events that led up to and included the sittings and, in some cases, the follow-up stories of the experience.

I highly recommend this book for your reading pleasure, and education, regardless of your initial point of view.

I was provided a pdf of the manuscript in exchange for an honest review.

Image of : Kirkus Review's Best Books of 2013 Award letter:

[Click to see enlarged image]

Happy Reading,

Dr. Bill  ;-)


  1. Thanks for taking part in the tour. I'm so glad you enjoyed Hidden In Plain Sight! I am one of those that the book was written for. From the Norman Rockwell paintings I have seen, I automatically assumed he was a racist. It was so wonderful to find out the truth.

  2. Happy to add the Kirkus Award information. Thanks, Teddy! ;-)