He was a Yankee, the very character of whom is, that he can "turn his hand," as he says, "to any thing." John Neal, Brother Jonathan, 1825
In New England modern-day Yankees are indeed turning their hands to anything. But so, too, are the Hoosiers of Indiana, the Sooners of Oklahoma and the Cornhuskers of Nebraskaalong with Texans, Californians, New Yorkers and Iowans. North, South, East and West, Americans have joyfully taken up a new hobby: "Do-It-Yourself."
In the postwar decade the do-it-yourself craze has become a national phenomenon. The once...