The ""truth"" about Santa? Debunking the myth of the jolly fat man whose name is virtually synonymous with Christmas seems downright unpatriotic. But Giblin has not set out to debunk, but rather to explain, and the result is a cogent, concise work of non-fiction that reads like a story. It informs and entertains. Author of the acclaimed Chimney Sweeps: Yesterday and Today, Walls, and The Skyscraper Boom Giblin has done considerable research into his latest subject. He traces the Santa myth back to a fourth-century bishop named Nicholas, who was canonized in 800. St. Nicholas' reputation as a man of generosity and kindess caught popular fancy, and spread throughout Asia Minor and Europe, later the New World. Legends about his life and deeds passed down through the centuries, and combined with Dutch, German, and British myths (and American commercialism) to produce the figure of Santa Claus as we think of him today. Giblin's perspective is balanced and objective; there's a wealth of information here, but it's neither overwhelming nor dull. Photos, prints, works of art, and a marvelous jacket by Margot Tomes provide visual counterpoint. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and Giblin has brought him to life.