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Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives…

Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New… (original 1982; edition 1991)

by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

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589516,710 (3.9)33
Title:Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750
Authors:Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Info:Vintage (1991), Edition: Fifth or Later Edition, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Early America, Labor, Women

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Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750 by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (1982)


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I am currently involved in tracing my family and reading Ulrich's book brought the history alive for me. I recommend this book for any one interested in genealogy because of the way Ulrich opens up the daily lives of these long ago women and delves into their psyches. anyone who enjoys this book should also try her A Midwife's Tale. ( )
  janerules | Sep 28, 2013 |
I bailed out of this about 1/2 way through. It was too much like a dissertation and not enough like a book for me. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
I think this is a great book, and not just because a couple of my ancestors are in it! ( )
  auntieknickers | Jan 27, 2009 |
This work has an academic tone, but is better written than most books written by college professors. It provides a fascinating insight into the lives of women in early New England. It shows how the society interpreted women and their roles using three prototypical Biblical women models. Bathsheba, whom the Puritans saw as the virtuous woman of proverbs, exemplified the good wife. Eve provides a focal point of a discussion of both sexual misbehavior, married sexuality, and childbirth. And Jael, who welcomed her enemy, fed him, lulled him to sleep, and then killed him by driving a tent peg into his head, gives a focus to a discussion of female assertiveness and violence. These qualities were sometimes necessary for survival in the frontier of 17th century New England. Laurel Ulrich demonstrates how the society accepted these normally unacceptable behaviors when they could see the woman taking the male role in the place of their husband, and them stepping back into a normal feminine role after. Jael typified this. By the 18th century writers viewed these women and their behavior as unnatural. This section analyses Hannah Dustin's experience in detail. She was enthusiastically welcomed when she returned from captivity with ten scalps of the Indian family she killed in their beds. Whittier saw her as having been driven to insanity in the moment of her attack, and Hawthorne reacted even more strongly, wishing the "bloody old hag had been drowned." Only a hag could have acted in this way, not a true woman. ( )
  footenoter | Jun 20, 2007 |
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For Alice Siddoway Thatcher
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On Tuesday morning she had risen in good health.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A portion of the book was first published in Feminist Studies in 1980.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679732578, Paperback)

This enthralling work of scholarship strips away those abstractions to reveal the hidden -- and not always stoic -- face of the "goodwives" of colonial America. In these pages we encounter the awesome burdens -- and the considerable power -- of a New England housewife's domestic life and witness her occasional forays into the world of men. We see her borrowing from her neighbors, loving her husband, raising -- and, all too often, mourning -- her children, and even attaining fame as a heroine of frontier conflicts or notoriety as a murderess. Painstakingly researched, lively with scandal and homely detail, Good Wives is history at its best.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:19 -0400)

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