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Everyday Life in Early America Paperback – January 25, 1989

ISBN-13: 978-0060912512 ISBN-10: 0060912510 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Series: Everyday Life in America
  • Paperback: 195 pages
  • Publisher: Harper & Row; Reprint edition (January 25, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060912510
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060912512
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this clearly written volume, Hawke provides enlightening and colorful descriptions of early Colonial Americans and debunks many widely held assumptions about 17th century settlers. He argues that most pioneers were not young and that their families weren't much larger than present-day households. In addition, he states that adults lived longer than has been believed and that most early settlers were artisans and craftsmen with little knowledge of farming, although the wilderness soon forced them to adapt. Hawke includes entertaining discussions of what the first white Americans ate (for example, raccoon was served in New York). He also discusses how colonial Americans were punished for crimes and how they treated enslaved blacks and indentured servants. This book is informative but could have been more deeply researched.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Best book I have found on everyday life in early America.
Donna Coppedge
Some of the information seems incorrect to me, as if the author was guessing at facts and gussed wrong.
Joan
I'd recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about this time in American history.
Gail Boyles

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 20, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The only genuine problem with this excellent book is that it does not compare favorably with some of the other books in this series. For instance, if one turns to this after reading Schlereth's amazing VICTORIAN AMERICA, one is scaled down the book seems in comparison. This is not the fault of author David Hawke. The problem is the paucity of details in everyday life in 17th century America compared to the late 19th. Unfortunately for Hawke, the life of Americans in the 17th century was rudimentary and, of necessity, simple. What makes VICTORIAN AMERICA such a delight is the almost overwhelmingly amount of delicious detail.
Nonetheless, life in 17th century colonial America is apt to be less familiar to most readers than that of late 19th century America, and this book performs an enormous service in providing a concise, well-written overview of what that life was like. Hawke is especially good at exploding various myths that have evolved over the years concerning colonial life. Unlike the later volumes in the series, Hawke deals, by dint of necessity, of the larger historical situation.
Some of the topics that Hawke takes up include the structure of towns and villages, the nature of farms and the crops grown, houses and the types of objects found within them, the health of the settlers and treatment of illness, social stratification, indentured servitude and slavery, relations with Native Americans, and various superstitions. If the book was somewhat less exhilarating than some of the later books in the series, it nonetheless is quite informative. I highly recommend it to anyone wishing to learn more about the nuts and bolts of colonial life.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Joe Owen VINE VOICE on January 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a good book that I found suprisingly detailed with pertinant facts that gave me a better understanding of the culture, religion, family beliefs and social way of life in early Colonial America between 1500 to 1750 (before the Revolutionary War). The author does an excellent job in emphasizing the importance of the different Christian religious sects in the colonies and how importantly they influenced the personal and social structure in colonial life. Life on the farm, in the town or villiage is studied as well as the important tools, crafts, clothing that were used. Not only is the influence of England stated in this work but that of Holland and other European powers of the time mentioned as well. This is a great book to get to understand what society and indvidual lives were like prior to the American Revolution. Overall a very interesting read!
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
One of my hobbies is recreating colonial life. I am a historical reenactor, and part of my passion for the hobby is recreating the lifestyle lived long ago as closely as possible. This book helped me immensely. I was able to understand how women especially passed their time and to pick up ways in which to create my character to her greatest potential. So many times while reading books about colonial Americans, women are virtually left out - I know they did something - but what was that something? This book helped me understand what their daily lives were all about.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 21, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must for anyone who wants to achieve a greater understanding of day-to-day life in 17th century America with a few hours of enjoyable reading. Hawke largely avoids the in-depth treatment of weightier political, social, and religious issues that bog down most such histories, and instead focuses on giving the reader a palpable impression of what it was like simply to be alive. It's not all farm implements and spinning wheels, either. The author skillfully uses anecdotes to covey the impact of bigger issues like industry and economics, transportation, warfare, morals and manners, etc. Excellent!
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By arielgirl on July 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read this book during my sophomore year of college, and it has forever stayed in my memory as the most entertaining history book I've ever read. What's so wonderful is that its concern is the texture of everyday life (duh! :=), rather than dates and names. Truly interesting.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Joan on February 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for the ordinary reader who would enjoy a chance to learn a bit more about the history of our country. With 176 pages of written text, it can't provide an extremely in- depth description of colonial life, but it does give an excellent overview of the 17th century in America with a surprising amount of detail. The writing style is engaging and not at all difficult, so the book is easy to finish off in a few days. I would recommend it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B. Lapadat on February 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
Not only is Hawke's book informative and concise, this book is "a good read." Many books examining an early time in a place often turn out to read like lists (if they're short) or textbooks (if they're long). Great for the first-time student, a comfort read for the layman, and a great reference with many nuggets of information that could be new (or examined differently)for the scholar of Early Colonial America. A rare book that really does have something for everybody.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By rural girl on November 22, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book after reading The Reshaping of Everyday Life: 1790-1840 (Everyday Life in America) and Home Life in Colonial Days. All the books had a little over-lap but each book had slightly different focus, information and detail. I enjoyed this book very much; the chapters are as follows:

O Strange New World > Who came and Why They Came - What They Brought With Them - What They Found

Settling In
The Farm
The House
The Home
Health
The Rhythms of Life
Manners and Morals
Red, White and Black
War
Beyond the Farm
Wonders of the Invisible World
Toward the Eighteenth Century

This book has a lot of super quotes - it was very thesis-like in that the introduction had 2 quotes, one from The Waning of the Middle Ages and the other from In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life and then the author's final paragraph from the introduction really set the tone for the book:

"Although relics from the past do survive, the everyday life of seventeenth-century Americans differed drastically from ours. As Fernand Braudel, like Deetz, reminds us to comprehend it we must 'strip ourselves in imagination of all the surroundings of our own lives.' The journey backward, he adds 'is a journey to another planet, another human universe.
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