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A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison Paperback – March 15, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0806127170 ISBN-10: 0806127171

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (March 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806127171
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806127170
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,024,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA-- A story of extraordinary courage and human survival as told by the subject herself, originally published in 1824. Jemison recounts how she was captured as a teenager by Shawnee Indians, who mutilated and killed her family. She was then sold to two Seneca sisters, with whom she remained willingly, married twice, and produced many children. This version of the affecting account is edited by feminist scholar and teacher June Namias.
- Mike Printz, Topeka West High School, KS
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

James E. Seaver, a 19th-century author, is best known for writing A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison.


June Namias was associate professor of history at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Her publications include White Captives: Gender and Ethnicity on the AmericanFrontier, 1607-1862, and a new edition of Sarah F. Wakefield’s Six Weeks in the Sioux Tepees: A Narrative of Indian Captivity.

Customer Reviews

Good book, fast read.
DAVID WALSWORTH
Even though she shared some details a lot appeared to be left out or just summarized.
Rebecca Mitchell
This book was engaging and memorable, well worth the time spent reading.
Tracy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Matthew S. Schweitzer on March 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is an incredible account of the life and times of Mary Jemison, a white woman taken captive during the French and Indian War and adopted into the Seneca tribe of the Iroquois in western New York. This tale covers her more than 70 years living among them through many of the most vital years of the long history of the Iroquois Confederacy.
In November 1823, when she was in her 80s, Mary Jemison, at the urging of many of the friendly local inhabitants, gave her amazing life story to James Seaver to publish for posterity. Though his truthfulness in some details of that account has often been called into question, this book is one of the most important and complete of any of the Indian captivity narratives to come out of the period between the French and Indian War and the War of 1812, which most historians mark as the end of the period of influence of the Eastern Woodland tribes. This account gives unequalled insight into the Seneca Indians and their ways including religion, food, hunting, warfare, culture, etc.
Mary had many opportunities to leave the Indians and return to white civilization but chose not to do so and thus was witness to some of the most amazing events in the history of her adopted people. Her tale is important to not only historians and ethnologists, but to the general public itself as it is a truly amazing story of triumph and tragedy for a proud people struggling to survive in the face of overwhelming odds as a young United States continued to expand, forever extinguishing their way of life.
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 29, 1996
Format: Paperback
They say if you visit New York State you will find her
descendants; many native-americans have her last name.

Taken captive; her parents killed - Mary becomes part of
a native-american family. She married a Delaware (Lenape)
warrior, with whom she was very content and has many
children. This is a dramatic, true story, told in her own
words. She is in her 80's, and reminisces about her unusual
life.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By frumiousb VINE VOICE on December 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
The narrative is fascinating reading, both in terms of the history revealed in the words of Mary Jemison and in terms of James Seaver who gives us his own version of her story. The effect is a layering of historical periods. With the help of the editing, you can peer through and see not only the period of Mary Jemison's captivity, but also the prejudices of the following time. An interesting example of the simultaneous respect and loathing with which the early settlers viewed the native inhabitants. I first read the narrative in high school, and would recommend it for young and old readers alike.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Judy A. Hallingstad on March 31, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fantastic history of this young girls life being a captive during the indian wars and all that she saw and went through. Quite a history--really sad. This should be read only by adults.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By annie laurie on November 1, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really was amazed that this book still existed, the description of Mary's life as a adult was heartbreaking after all she endured as a child, anyone interested in American history should read this
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By gilly8 on June 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating story, and I wish I could give it more stars. The problem is not with the true story of Mary Jemison's life, but the way it is told by James Seaver. He wrote this story of her life after interviewing the then-80 year old woman, in 1823. Although he had the first-hand source, Mary Jamison, it is very unlikely that much of the book is remotely in her own words. He tells the story of her captivity, her life, her marriage to a Seneca Indian, then after his death, her marriage to another Seneca man; then the birth of her 8 or 9 children, and the hard life she had as a Seneca woman--though once accepted into the tribe she was treated like any other woman of the tribe. However, though this story should be remarkable and exciting, Seaver manages to make it dull, with basic outlines of major aspects of her long life--she was with the Seneca during both the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War--and tends to pontificate about the evil and brutal savages almost on every page.

Mary Jemison became known, probably in her own lifetime, as "The White Woman of the Genesse". Her kindness and charity to all people were well known throughout her life, despite the cruelties she had seen or experienced from both the settlers and the Seneca tribe. She ended her life owning land and a small house, and living near her daughters and grandchildren. At 80 years old she was still doing all the major work of a typical Seneca woman.

The story has been retold: the most famous in our era being the children's version: "Indian Captive" by Lois Lenski, which is very good, and catches the spirit of Mary Jemison's early life much better than Mr Seaver does.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By aquagirl on May 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was interested in this book since it was written about the Seneca Nation and about my birthplace. It was very educational and I certainly was impressed with Mrs. Jemison's determination and her tough life. The many battles, treason and very graphic descriptions of the Indian torture were enough that I finally stopped reading it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Linda Evans-Rigney on June 10, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a remarkable book that any historian would love. Written in the vernacular, it can carry one back to those dangerous and exciting times in our nation's past through the eyes of one who actually lived it. Good reference as well for genealogy buffs.
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