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The Burgermeister's Daughter: Scandal in a Sixteenth-Century German Town Hardcover – March 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 220 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; 1st edition (March 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031213939X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312139391
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #968,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The tragic but uplifting story of Anna Buschler, whose rebellion against the constricting mores of her times is reconstructed in this vivid social portrait of Germany at the end of the Middle Ages.

From Publishers Weekly

Ozment (Protestants: The Birth of a Revolution) brings a medieval drama to life in this meticulously researched and engrossing narrative of the 30-year lawsuit between Anna Buschler (1496/98-1552) and her family. Anna's father, Burgermeister (mayor) of the German town of Schwabisch Hall, banished his daughter from the family home in 1525 after he read letters that confirmed her sexual involvement with two men. Anna responded by suing her father, and after his death her siblings, for disinheriting her. Ozment details the twists and turns of Anna's legal battle, which continued during her two marriages and resulted in her being shackled to a table for six months by her father and later jailed briefly by the town council. She escaped from both incarcerations. Although Anna was promiscuous, Ozment convincingly argues that the Burgermeister's treatment was overly severe, and Anna emerges in this account as an unusually resourceful and feisty woman. Illustrated. History Book Club selection.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Danielle Apodaca on October 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
Steven Ozment creates a book that is rich in research but also in storytelling. Ozment tells the story of Anna Buschler, the burgermeister of Hall's daughter and the scandal that erupted in this small sixteenth-century town. Ozment painstakingly recreates the small German town that Anna grew up in, we are introduced to her story through personal letters and court documents. His goal isn't to show that Anna was innocent of the crimes that were brought against her, but to show that the actions of her family and the courts were quite severe. Throughout the book we begin to understand the role of women, in particular daughters in sixteenth-century Germany.
Ozment relies on the personal letters of Anna, Daniel and Erasmus and he also looks at the court documents. He expertly tells the story of times and of the sources he had which is sadly not too much. But his use of his sources and the history of the period, Ozment creates a book that engrosses the reader into Anna's life and that of a daughter in sixteenth-century Germany. However, Ozment's sources are his greatest weakness. Since he has so few resources, there lies his limitations. Ozment is only able to tell the story that he is presented with and speculates on what he does not have. For example, in Chapter 3, Ozment brings forth the accusation of incest between Anna and he father. Ozment shows a quote out of the court documents from Anna saying that her father "abused her maidenly modesty" (121). With this quote, he takes the information to a new level. He does not really state that the quote could have been said to gain sympathy, but rather takes it that Anna's father could have molested her. Ozment wants to show Anna in a heroic light that he will stop at nothing to show her in nothing but a good perspective.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Daniel A. Stone on August 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
There are few stretches of the imagination by which Anna Büschler can be called typical of her time and place. First, she was a member of the embryonic bürger urban middle class in a society that was overwhelmingly rural and peasant. Secondly, she had the audacity consistently, and vocally, to defy authority. And finally, but most importantly by the standards that early modern historians, there is actually a fairly large record of what she did and what historian Steven Ozment argues was the consuming passion of her life: undoing the wrong done to her by her father disinheriting her in 1527. Through Ozment's interweaving of the social, political, and legal minefield which Anna was forced to navigate in her attempt to redress the wrong done to her by her father--an extremely interesting man in his own write--after he found a cache of love letters she both wrote and received. The reader is also given a bird's eye view into the workings of a fairly typical German town during the renaissance, Swabian Hall, and how its residents felt about the operation of the legal system in her regards. This is micro-history at its best.

Anna Büschler should have been able to enjoy as comfortable a life as a middle class woman was able to have by sixteenth century standards by the time she was thirty years old. Instead, she found herself locked in her father's home, perpetually chained to a table leg. The chain of events that led her to this unhappy situation begins with interpretations of her past behavior.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By K Scheffler on December 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
The Burgermeister's Daughter is a fascinating and highly readable study of a ... scandal that errupted in the German city of Schwabish Hall during the early years of the Reformation. The central figure, Anne Buschler, the daughter of a former Burgermeister and long-time city councilman, was a girl who liked to test the limits and would often have tongues wagging over her--for that day and age, at least--wild behaviour. It came to the point where she was having intimate relations with two guys, Erasmus of Limpurg and Daniel Treutwein. When this was discovered by her father, he disinherited her; but instead of allowing herself to be cast adrift in this manner, she fought back and thus ensued a protracted legal battle against her father, and, after his death, her siblings. In the end, we are presented with an extra-ordinary glimpse into the lives of (upper class) Germans during this era, German culture and society, the status of women, and the intricacies of the German legal system. It's a rare treat to find a book that is so meticulously researched but so readable. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Danielle Apodaca on October 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Steven Ozment creates a book that is rich in research but also in storytelling. Ozment tells the story of Anna Buschler, the burgermeister of Hall's daughter and the scandal that erupted in this small sixteenth-century town. Ozment painstakingly recreates the small German town that Anna grew up in, we are introduced to her story through personal letters and court documents. His goal isn't to show that Anna was innocent of the crimes that were brought against her, but to show that the actions of her family and the courts were quite severe. Throughout the book we begin to understand the role of women, in particular daughters in sixteenth-century Germany.
This book was absolutely enchanting for every genre of reader, I am a graduate student and this proves invaluable for both research and entertainment!
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