Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: First Generations: Women in Colonial America
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VINE VOICEon August 21, 2000
So many history books are dry and difficult to read. This was the exact opposite. Carol Berkin breathes life into the dim periods of early Colonial American history. Although she often has little more details than land records, birth, marriage, and death dates (and in some cases, not even that) Berkin is able to paint a vivid picture of what it might have been like for the strong women who, willingly or not, helped to create America. Berkin is an equal opportunity historian -- each chapter of her book focuses on a particular strata of female colonial society: Native America women, African American women, poor white immigrant women, and wealthy women. In this way, the reader gets a full picture of the diverse cultural groups that existed from the earliest days of Colonial America. There are also some real surprises (I wont spoil them for you) which leads the reader to believe that life in Colonial America was much more complex and unpredictable than you might have thought. This book was both educational and entertaining and I highly recommend it.
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on March 23, 2000
Carol Berkin offers informative essays on women in different ethnic and regional cultures of colonial America. The life story of a woman from each of the groups considered lends character and definition to this excellent scholarly work. African-American women, Native American women, and Anglo-American women in New England and the Chesapeake are among those considered. As New Amsterdam became New York, women of Dutch descent experienced major changes in their legal rights. Berkin's treatment of this transition from Dutch to English law exemplifies her fascinating and informative style.
The study ends with a discussion of women's lives during the American Revolution, including the moving stories of women who lost their fortunes or their lives in that struggle. The biographies of martyrs, however, do not eclipse a good discussion of the everyday lives of women during the conflict. Berkin also examines how the logic of democratic revolution, strangely, did not extend to women's rights.
Berkin has made an indispensable contribution to colonial history, women's history and ethnic history.
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on July 14, 2012
This book was a required text for a course at my University on the social history of American women. While the information contained in this book was interesting (there isn't a lot out there about women during the Colonial period, though there is plenty about men), it was very narrowly focused. A significant portion of the book talks about the women of the Chesapeake, which is interesting, but not as comprehensive as I would have liked. I understand that this is because more information survives about women of that area, but it still felt like that should have been taken into account in the title of the book, so readers would have a better idea of what they were getting.

I did enjoy the discussion of Native American women included in the text, though some passages felt dismissive of the culture and quickly returned to white women. The Native Americans seemed included only as far as they contextualized the lives of whites.

All in all, it was an interesting book with good information, though the tone and density of the text was sometimes difficult to slog through. I found myself skimming and skipping pages oftener than I did other texts on the same subject.
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on February 2, 2014
Although I wish the book had come in sooner, that's just something that I can't complain because it's out of my control, but when the book did come in, I was delighted to see what great condition it was in! Absolutely perfect and brand new! Thank you for packaging the book so nicely.
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on August 17, 2014
Very interesting book. I like that it has information on African Americans, Native Americans, and different type of immigrants. Good read.
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on November 12, 2012
First Generations: Women in Colonial America - So far I have only completed the first two chapters, but I found it to be very interesting.
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on August 24, 2015
I got today it's a blessing I live in Colville,Wa. Fire. So blessIng to all
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on September 26, 2014
Had to get it for US History class. Its an interesting read.
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on July 22, 2014
required reading for my son - fast shipping
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on September 30, 2014
Great at the beginning of each chapter. Y
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