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The Reshaping of Everyday Life: 1790-1840 (Everyday Life in America) Paperback – November 1, 1989
"The Black Presidency"
Rated by Vanity Fair as one of our most lucid intellectuals writing on race and politics today, this book is a provocative and lively look into the meaning of America's first black presidency. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
In researching "Where We Worked" he uncovered hundreds of ordinary Americans' work narratives (including some from members of his own family) and explored the vast photographic archives of the Library of Congress.
Top Customer Reviews
Since ordinary folk, doing their humdrum tasks, are both the audience and the participants in historic drama, I want to understand their ways and Reshaping has certainly helped in this quest. In this book, Jack Larkin has given me the details that will paint the scenery and add depth to my future explorations of the time period. Now when I think of Andrew Jackson, I can visualize the homes where his constituents lived and the games they liked to play and the places where they shopped. When I read about the great western migration that began in 1837, I can see the clothing the immigrants wore, the titles of the books they packed and the music that followed them west.
Jack Larkin accomplished this visual rendering of yesterday with a smooth writing style that never breaks an even and easy stride. "By the late 1830s cookstoves were coming into use among middling city families and in Northern commercial villages. In 1838, "the year we had a new cooking stove, the first one in town,' recalled Susan Blunt, who grew up in a bustling rural commercial center, `the neighbors said we would all be sick-taken off in rimmers as they called them."
In addition, the book offered many surprises that added new insight to time and place. "Phineas T.Read more ›
I found Mr. Larkin's book insightful, extremely well researched, and a trove of rich anecdotes about life in this period.
I was surprised in my own research, for instance, to discover that my early ancestors had a child just five months after their wedding. I realized from Mr. Larkin's book that early births in this era were quite common. Sturbridge Village Society conducted exhaustive reviews of marriage and birth certificates in the 1780s and 1790s and calculated that fully a third of New England rural women were already pregnant when wed. This is the kind of meticulous research that enriches social history.
Equally interesting for me was his description of how TB destroyed entire families, as happened in a branch of my family in the 1870s. I was unaware tuberculosis was such a common and ferocious killer at the time.
The book proved invaluable in understanding the world of my ancestors.
A final pleasure is Mr. Larkin's confident and flowing prose. Works on social history can be ponderous, especially if well documented. Larkin achieves the rare combination of copious detail and elegant style.
Meticulously researched, "Reshaping of Everyday Life" does a fantastic job of spanning all sections of America, and all facets of American life. It showcases a heap of information derived from diaries, letters, censuses, artifacts, news clippings, etc. etc. etc. It's a monumental deal of info that could easily calculate into a dry piece of reading, but it's not dry. It's very lively, and very interesting, shedding light on aspects of American life easily taken for granted today, but vitally important to their very existence. The book is wonderfully laid out in easy to access sections and index (sounds trivial, but when dealing with history books you don't know how helpful this is), with these fascinating pieces of information strewn about every single page in a humanistic fashion. But the best part of the book is it's ability to flow. It doesn't matter where you start reading, it moves quickly, with style and a sense of purpose. I must say, other than memoirs, I've never had such an enjoyable time, or felt like I immediately assimilated the material as I read it.
This is a solid and excellent book for anyone who wants to learn a great deal of quality information quickly and easily. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I got this yesterday and haven't been able to put it down. It is very readable and fascinating. I just purchased two more books by this author because of the great writing. Read morePublished 1 month ago by DeeK
This is a great book for gaining insight into the lives of most people in the first half of the 19th century.Published 4 months ago by Matthew Savage
Read this through carefully. Conservatives who commented and complained above should be taken to task. The author has no agenda. Read morePublished 5 months ago by isolotus
Awesome book took it out as a library book but had to have my own copy.Published 8 months ago by Kate Pyle
Very detailed information about the life back then. Each category was short and to the point, which I liked. A good read.Published 11 months ago by Lyn
Well written and accurate, but I would have liked more correlation of the details of life with the historical events taking place at the time.Published 18 months ago by L. C. Gard