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Abraham in Arms: War and Gender in Colonial New England (Early American Studies) Paperback – June 19, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0812219616 ISBN-10: 0812219619
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Abraham in Arms: War and Gender in Colonial New England (Early American Studies) + Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia) + Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery (Early American Studies)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This innovative and thought-provoking analysis of why New Englanders and Indians went to war, and how they interpreted their experiences in war, effectively reshapes our perspectives of culture and society on the early New England frontier."—Journal of American History



"A clearly written, cogently argued book on early American cultural encounters. Highly recommended."—Choice



"A creative and fascinating tour-de-force. Sweeping across two centuries of conflict in the colonial Northeast, from the Pequot War of 1636-37 to the Seven Years' War of the mid-eighteenth century, Little shows how northeastern Native peoples, English colonists, and French settlers interpreted each other's actions through the lens of their own gendered sense of proper social order. The book makes a very persuasive case for gender being central to any study of war that historians might undertake, and the writing flows elegantly from insight to insight."—Nancy Shoemaker, University of Connecticut

About the Author

Ann M. Little is Associate Professor of History at Colorado State University.
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Product Details

  • Series: Early American Studies
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press (June 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812219619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812219616
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #654,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By History Professor on September 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
Ann Little has written a fascinating account of the ways in which Native Americans and English and French settlers of the 17th and 18th centuries understood the wars they entered with and against each other (particularly the Pequot and Seven Years Wars, but also more generally the ongoing disputes between Europeans and Indians throughout the colonial period in New England). Drawing on English and French sources, Little also incorporates the experience of Indians as well, though of course that remains difficult when they did not leave written records from these periods.

Her argument writ large is that Indians and Europeans actually shared a number of the same understandings about warfare and masculinity, even as they also differed vastly in a number of their cultural practices. And in documenting those practices Little does a great job of showing why and how confusion arose between cultures, but also how Europeans exploited those differences whenever possible in their quest for the land then occupied by Indians. She also includes a really interesting chapter on the experiences of English children taken captive by Indians and sold to the French, many of whom (girls especially) opted not to return home, noting all the reasons that these girls may well have achieved a much more elevated status in French Canadian society than in their native New England.

I've taught the book in a number of classes and it is well argued, accessible, and chock full of evidence. It has worked successfully in those classes and I recommend it both to students of history and to lay readers interested in a more nuanced history of warfare in colonial New England that takes Indian AND European men's AND women's perspectives into account.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Abraham in Arms takes a totally original approach to early New England history. By bringing a gendered analysis to fields of war, cultural contact, and New England community formation, Little shows how concepts of masculinity were inseparable from early Americans attempts to colonize a New World. Whether talking about war, about cultural cross-dressing, or the many gendered facets of captivity, Little smartly shows how combining extensive archival research with a feminist analysis encourages us to rethink how we understand early America.

My graduate students regularly rate this book as one of their favorite pieces of new scholarship in the field. Undergrads find it accessible and engaging, and take away a whole new picture of the silver-buckle wearing Puritans they grew up with.
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Format: Paperback
In this book, Ann Little describes and interprets the ways in which people in New England, New France, and Indian country thought and spoke about their cross-cultural experiences in the colonial Northeast. Her timeframe runs from approximately the 1630s to the 1760s. The author focuses on the experience and rhetoric of warfare. The decades she takes up include seven distinct military episodes, beginning with The Pequot War (1636-37) and concluding with the French and Indian War, also known as the Seven Years' War (1756-63). Little observes that all of the various warring parties of this era routinely used the language of family and gender to describe things like their enemies, their victories, and the experience of captivity. She explains that her book is part of a current scholarly trend that notices and comments on similarities between Indians and Europeans, as opposed to their often discussed differences. Little relies on primary sources like Anglo-American captivity narratives and the tracts and sermons of Increase and Cotton Mather and lesser-known Puritan divines. She also cites and refers to contemporary scholarship. Overall, this is a fine piece of work on the topic.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book fascinating with a great perspective on Colonial Wars. I read this for a book review in my American Women's History class.
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3 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Big Daddy Z. Top on July 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
While this may follow feminist theory, it has little history in it or Native voices. You would be better off looking for something by Colin Calloway, Daniel Mandell, Jean O'Brien or Marge Bruchac.
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