Why the Turkey Didn’t Fly

The Surprising Stories Behind the Eagle, the Flag, Uncle Sam, and Other Images of America

Paul Aron

Why did the eagle become our national symbol (even though Ben Franklin preferred the turkey)? How did Gilbert Stuart’s image of George Washington end up on the dollar bill? Did Betsy Ross really have anything to do with the Stars and Stripes? Here are the stories behind America’s most enduring images.

Cover Image of Why the Turkey Didn’t Fly: The Surprising Stories Behind the Eagle
Paper: $15.95
ISBN-13: 9781611684940
Pages: 94 | Size: 7.75 in. x 9.25 in.
Date Published: August 6, 2013


  • Paul Aron gives us a rollicking, learned, and beguiling account of the true stories behind the images we thought we knew. From Uncle Sam to Lady Liberty, the eagle to Yankee Doodle, Aron sets us straight about the origins of America’s most famous icons.

    Scott Reynolds Nelson
    author of Steel Drivin’ Man: The Untold Story of An American Legend and A Nation of Deadbeats: An Uncommon History of America’s Financial Disasters
  • With wit and intelligence Paul Aron untangles the mystery of masonic images on the dollar, traces the lineage of our flag’s design, and debunks Uncle Sam. Why The Turkey Didn’t Fly is a fun book for anyone who loves Americana.

    Joel Richard Paul
    author of Unlikely Allies: How a Merchant, a Playwright, and a Spy Saved the American Revolution

About the Author

PAUL ARON is director of publications for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. His previous books are: Unsolved Mysteries of American History, Unsolved Mysteries of History, Count The Ways, More Unsolved Mysteries of American History, Did Babe Ruth Call His Shot?, Mysteries in History, and We Hold These Truths.

Other Recent Titles

Books Like Sapphires

Ann Brener

Chaim Weizmann

Jehuda Reinharz and Motti Golani

Freshwater Fish of the Northeast

Matt Patterson

The Soiling of Old Glory

Louis P. Masur

Antisemitism and the Politics of History

Edited by Scott Ury and Guy Miron