Page 3. " taught himself coin tricks "

Page 4. " a grifter from Minnesota "

Minnesota is the twelfth largest state in America. It is known as the land of 12,000 lakes. The name is derived from a Dakota word for "sky-tinted water."


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Page 6. " ‘call no man happy,’ said Shadow,’ until he is dead.’ "

This quote is from Herodotus' The Histories

Herodotus is often called 'The Father of History'. An ancient Greek historian, he was the first person known to have collected his works systematically and to have tested their accuracy.

In this article, Neil Gaiman talks about how reading Herodotus helped him write American Gods

Page 11. " Sam Fetisher stared at Shadow "

Fetishism is strongly associated with the practice of Vodun, also know as voodoo, which originates from Haiti. It derives from beliefs carried across the Atlantic by West African slaves.

Fetishes were also frequently employed in Native American religion and can be found in varying forms and degrees in most other religions.

Page 11. " His mother had lived in Chicago as a girl "

Chicago comes from 'shikaakwa,' a French understanding of the Native American word for 'wild onion' or 'wild garlic.'

The Potawatomi tribe lived there in the 18th Century. Previously the Miami, the Sac and Fox peoples also resided there.

Chicago is the largest city in the Illinois state and is known by many nicknames including: 'The Windy City,' 'Chi-Town,' and the 'City of Big Shoulders.'

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Page 19. " the thing staring at him wore a buffalo’s head, rank and furry with huge wet eyes. Its body was a man’s body, oiled and slick. "

This description of the Buffalo Man initially sounds like the Greek monster, the Minotaur. But the buffalo is an animal sacred to many Native American peoples, and the creature in Shadow's dream is also reminiscent of Wakan Tanka the ultimate power of the Lakota universe.

Page 20. " If Hell is other people, thought Shadow, then Purgatory is airports "

The line 'Hell is other people' comes from a French play called No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre.

Page 25. " Mister Wednesday. Although given the weather, it might as well be Thursday "

GNU Free Documentation LicenseOdin - Credit: Victor villalobos
Mr Wednesday is making a divine joke.

Wednesday comes from the Middle English wednes dei, derived from the Old English Wōdnesdæg, which means the day of the English God Woden, equivalent to the Norse god Odin

Thursday is similarly derived from Thor's Day. Thor is the Norse god of thunder, lightning and destruction among other things.