Horn, Tammy 1968–
Horn, Tammy 1968–
Born March 21, 1968, in KY; daughter of school teachers. Education: Berea College, B.A.; Fort Hays State University, M.A.; University of Alabama, Ph.D., 1997.
University of West Alabama, Livingston, faculty member for three years; Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, faculty member, 2000-02; Berea College, Berea, KY, faculty member, 2002—, National Endowment for the Humanities Chair of Appalachian Studies, 2006—. Also works as a beekeeper.
Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 2005.
Educator Tammy Horn started helping her grandfather care for his bees in 1997. "Until then, I didn't know a honey bee from a yellow jacket, to quote one of my sources," the author noted in an interview on the University Press of Kentucky Web site. "But, from the first moment my grandfather and I opened a hive, I found something I had always searched for, an orderly and stable society that provides unsung benefits to the human one. It was the perfect hobby to complement my teaching career."
The author's newfound interest in bees ultimately led Horn to write Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation. In her book, Horn offers a cultural history of bees and beekeeping in the United States, from the colonial period, when the British introduced beekeeping to America, to modern times. According to Canadian Journal of History contributor Roger M. Carpenter: "Horn's book has two purposes. First, she provides the reader with a little bit of background information regarding bees and beekeeping. Second, she seeks to place the honey bee and beekeeping in the context of US history." Eric Miller wrote in Christianity Today: "Tammy Horn's ambitious book Bees in America takes the reader deep into the American side of this sprawling story."
As the author explores the varied social and technological history of bees and beekeeping in the United States, she includes a look at some strange modern uses of bees, such as the military's use of bees to detect bombs. Horn begins her book, however, with a look at the bee's introduction to American and its role in new world colonialism. In chapter two she explores bees in relation to the American Revolution. "The American Revolution itself was couched in popular bee metaphors, such as the British as lazy drones living off the work of the industrious colonists," noted H-Net Reviews contributor Laurie Carlson. The author also tells the supposedly true story of Charity Crabtree. This Quaker girl was given the assignment of warning General George Washington when the British troops, headed by General Cornwallis, were advancing. When she saw the troops, she jumped on her horse to try to warn Washington and inadvertently knocked over some of her bee hives. The bees attack the Redcoats, giving Charity time to escape and warn Washington, who, in turn, later credits the young woman with playing an important role in saving the United States.
Horn goes on to trace the history of bees in the United States on through early industrialization and into the beginnings of globalization in the last half of the twentieth century. "Author Tammy Horn points out that we are drawn to bees because bee society is perfectly engineered," reported Carlson. "There is no waste; honey bees utilize time and space to perform specialized tasks that preserve a highly structured social system. Horn argues that honey bees' natural behavior reflects American virtues and values, finding them embedded in our cultural symbolism from colonial times to the present." The author also explores how bees, via honey and beeswax, have played a role in the U.S. economy. "Overall, Horn has written a useful book," asserted Carpenter, adding that the author accomplishes her primary goal of providing "a comprehensive history of bees in America." Christian Science Monitor critic Ruth Walker asserted: "Horn's book is also full of the kind of rich detail that a narrow focus, paradoxically, makes room for."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Canadian Journal of History, spring-summer, 2006, Roger M. Carpenter, review of Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation, p. 150.
Choice, September, 2005, R.C. Graves, review of Bees in America, p. 128.
Christianity Today, September-October, 2006, Eric Miller, "The Bees, the Birds, and the Land; Shock and Awe; An Obsession with Bees."
Christian Science Monitor, April 12, 2005, Ruth Walker, "The Buzz about Bees."
Publishers Weekly, January 17, 2005, review of Bees in America, p. 44.
Women's Studies, December, 2006, Cathy Corder, review of Bees in America, p. 783
H-Net Reviews,http://www.h-net.org/ (April 14, 2008), Laurie Carlson, review of Bees in America.
Tammy Horn Home Page,http://tammyhorn.com (April 14, 2008).
University Press of Kentucky,http://www.kentuckypress.com/ (April 14, 2008), "A Conversation with Tammy Horn."