Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia) 1st New edition Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 858-0000799569
ISBN-10: 0807846236
Why is ISBN important?
ISBN
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$11.38 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
Buy new On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$26.59 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
More Buying Choices
33 New from $25.88 53 Used from $5.75
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia)
  • +
  • American Slavery, American Freedom
Total price: $36.45
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This big book is intriguing, provocative, and deeply unsettling.

"Journal of Southern History""

[S]he has transformed even the very familiar by her original thinking and her command of recent theoretical formulations.

"Signs"

[C]rucial to our understanding not only of gender but of race and power in colonial Virginia.

"Journal of Southwest Georgia History"

"Meticulously researched, carefully reasoned, and gracefully written, this book should be on the reading list of every historian.

"American Historical Review""

This big book is intriguing, provocative, and deeply unsettling.

"Journal of Southern History"

Should be a standard purchase for all academic libraries with holdings in U.S. history.

"Choice"

ÝS¨he has transformed even the very familiar by her original thinking and her command of recent theoretical formulations.

"Signs"

ÝC¨rucial to our understanding not only of gender but of race and power in colonial Virginia.

"Journal of Southwest Georgia History"

Meticulously researched, carefully reasoned, and gracefully written, this book should be on the reading list of every historian.

"American Historical Review"

Review

Meticulously researched, carefully reasoned, and gracefully written, this book should be on the reading list of every historian.--American Historical Review



Kathleen Brown's magnificent book, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs, places gender at the center of early Virginia history for the first time. Her interpretations are persuasive because they are informed by judicious use of feminist theories and by an insistence that early Virginia was a changing tri-racial society.--Allan Kulikoff, Northern Illinois University



Should be a standard purchase for all academic libraries with holdings in U.S. history.--Choice



Kathleen Brown has written an important book that is going to revolutionize our understanding of colonial Virginia, of the origins of slavery, and of the role of gender in the evolution of early American society. . . . An admirable combination of sophisticated conceptual design and richly textured and original data . . . that will have a major intellectual impact across the fields of American history.--Drew Gilpin Faust, author of Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War



This book is . . . crucial to our understanding not only of gender but of race and power in colonial Virginia.--Journal of Southwest Georgia History



An ambitious work, elaborate in construction and prodigious in research. . . . It could reshape profoundly our understanding of the history of colonial Virginia. . . . This big book is intriguing, provocative, and deeply unsettling.--Journal of Southern History



In the early days of women's history, its practitioners promised that the study of women would one day change the way we look at history itself. Arguing that gender and sexuality were central to the development of both slavery and the eighteenth century's plantation elite, Kathleen Brown makes good on that promise.--Suzanne Lebsock, University of Washington



One of the most important and interesting books ever published about colonial Virginia history.--Virginia Libraries

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE



Product Details

  • Series: Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1st New edition edition (November 25, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807846236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807846230
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Kathleen Brown's examination of 17th and early 18th century Virginia is a commendable attempt to further our understanding of gender and race relations in early American history. "Gender and race," Brown finds, "became intertwined components of the social order in colonial Virginia." (1) Although this study makes significant strides in unearthing the world of free and bonded men and women in early Virginia, many of Brown's conclusions go far beyond the evidence she can muster.
This story is primarily one of definitions, structured so that one can see clearly the gradual but steady consolidation of power by elite white men. These "anxious patriarchs" delineated social relations among whites, blacks and Indians by associating Indians and Africans with field labor and slavery, and by associating women with dependency. "Good wives" were respectable, chaste and dependent members of a male-dominated society. As time went on, planters engendered field work with race, by disassociating white women from it. As the number of enslaved Africans increased, black women became "nasty wenches" who, because of their condition of servitude, could not avoid the labor and sexual exploitation that defined their status. By the 1680s, she shows, taxation of African (but not white) women became the "cornerstone of a concept of womanhood that became less class-specific and increasingly race specific," which allowed for a "more exclusive definition of English womanhood." (128) This concept was further buttressed when Virginia lawmakers in 1662 decreed that children born of unfree mothers were slaves. "The notion that enslaved women could pass their bound condition on to their children," she writes, "strengthened the appearance that slavery was a natural condition for" Africans.
Read more ›
5 Comments 56 of 70 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on December 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
Covering an impressive range of materials, Brown offers an ambitious treatment of later 17th- and 18th- century colonial Virginia from the point of view of the marxist-feminist tetrad: race, gender, sexuality, class. As the book's title tends to suggest, the work is strongest when dealing with the connections between discourses of gender and race (and to a lesser extent, sexuality). The wide scope of the book means, however, that some of the nuances and complexities of these discourses and their connections (and this is particularly true in terms of 'class') remain untraced. A second weakness is that the text lacks wider direction. Perhaps we can excuse the absence of explicit discussion of the study's theoretical assumptions. Less so the failure to engage directly with previous historiography and to 'signpost' clearly the argument being made over 375-odd pp. Subheadings help but only when descriptive; those drawn from primary sources are of little value in guiding the reader.
Comment 27 of 38 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Anglo-American discourses of gender, race and power underwent major historical transformations; authority was no longer the "natural" expression of divine providence, and in the New World beliefs in fundamental sex differences acquired new meanings. As Kathleen M. Brown makes clear in her work, this was no simple transition; rather, the language of gender "became part of English efforts to define differences, communicate their own authority, and anchor their identities in Christianity and civility" in a land of unfamiliar land and peoples. Brown aims at nothing less than a revisioning of colonial Virginian society during this crucial early modern period by placing gender at the center of historical analysis of that "virgin" colony, Virginia, from the arrival of the earliest colonial settlers to the mid-eighteenth century, when the gentry elite reached the apex of their power. This work's novelty lies in Brown's insistence on gender as crucial in the demarcation of the sexual, racial, and class boundaries. However, Brown is not writing a "women's history" in the traditional sense; one of the strengths of her text is her insistence on the interconnectedness of gender, race, sex, and class. Thus some of her most provocative arguments examine the construction of white masculinity, notably during and after Bacon's rebellion. Brown ultimately succeeds in her goal to "complicate" our understanding of the initial setbacks in patriarchal social hierarchies, the "subsequent rise of the planter class and its authority,"and the ways in which race, class and gender shaped colonial society in this formidable work.
Comment 2 of 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A heavy book in all senses of the word. Interesting material, not necessarily always told in an interesting manner. A good, but again not compellingly told, overview of women's rights or non-rights in the 18th C. But be sure to feel strong when reading it! It's VERY heavy, and the Kindle version does not have the maps or pictures of the printed version.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very interesting view of Colonial Virginia's hierarchy with detailed research to support the thesis of female rights and their societal position relative to men and slaves. Well written. Recommend to anyone interested in early American history, daily life in colonial Virginia and the legacy of slavery in the US.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Have not read yet. Book is like new. Great buy. Thanks
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia)
This item: Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia)
Price: $26.59
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: colonial north carolina herbs, william gouge, 98 366