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As Various As their Land: The Everyday Lives of Eighteenth-Century Americans Hardcover – 1993


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers; First edition (1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060167998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060167998
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
This work is part of The Everyday Life in America Series through which the reader learns about the mundane yet more important contributions of the "regular" colonists who populated this land. Most history books focus on great men - and only rarely, great women - major wars, and grand schemes and innovations. Wolf's book and the others in the series offer a picture of the early "humanscape" with a better understanding of the colonist's everyday lives. As the author states, "For every Cotton Mather, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, or George Washington there were hundreds of assemblymen, clergymen, and judges; thousands of people who made up mobs, polls, and armies; and tens of thousands of farmers, artisans, laborers, women, children, servants and slaves." (11) I am now convinced that no history is complete without consideration of the lives of these "everyday" individuals. The sheer numbers, as well as the scholar's aspiration to understand the past more completely, demand it.
When a person reads about the past, they tend to romanticize it. Therefore, the hearts of most twenty-first century Americans are warmed by the commonly held image of early settlers working together as a new people in a new land, achieving seemingly impossible goals, massaging unrealistic dreams into reality. However, as Wolf's title suggests, the overriding theme of her book is diversity rather than the believed commonality. Wolf addresses this theme of diversity with regard to national origin, race, religion, social status, gender, settlement region, and more. The degree of complexity is increased by those variables.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ken Roberts VINE VOICE on April 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
We all know about the Revolutionary War, and George Washington, Ben Franklin, Paul Revere, et al. But what about Enoch Shrigley or Jonathan Heacock? Martha Pearson, maybe? Susannah Morgan? Who, you may ask, are these people? Enoch, Jonathan, Martha, and Susannah were no one that you have read about in your American History lessons in school. They were my ancestors, my multiple Great Grandparents who lived in Pennsylvania in the 1700's, and, except for a few small facts and stories here and there, I know very little about their lives, especially the women. But, they all lived during the time period covered in "As Various As Their Land," a book that I highly recommend. And learning about the lives of my above listed ancestors is why I truly love these 'you are there' everyday life books. I have copies of the many different books of this ilk that are available and, being heavily into my family history (and genealogy in general), I use them extensively to put 'flesh on the bones' of my long dead ancestors. They help one to understand how the War For Independence or how the politicians of the day affected the mass of 'unknowns.' Stephanie Grauman Wolf has done a very good job in her representation of what the 'plain ordinary folk' of the 18th century were like. Because of her book, I now can tell you pretty much the way a typical person of 1770 may have dressed, cooked, what they may have eaten, did for fun, how they were schooled, etc. In another Every Day Life type book that I reviewed (Daily Life In Victorian England), I began my review with something like "If history books in school were written like this, perhaps more school children would be interested in the subject of history." That statement holds true for this book by Ms. Wolf as well.
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Format: Paperback
This is an outstanding popular history of the the ordinary lives of Americans, both rich and poor, in the eighteenth century. Full of learned analysis, it is seasoned with quotations from contemporary writings that exhibit the era's prejudices and customs. What most impressed me was how hard and insecure most lives were for the comparatively advantaged inhabitants of this continent in that century. It really sent chills down my spine to think about how utterly brutal their existence was, to be so completely dependent on one's own physical labor for the sustenance of a lifetime and how extremely easy it was to lose everything.
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By Ruslan on July 11, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very good for history lovers!
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