- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Schocken Books; Expanded edition (September 8, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805210040
- ISBN-13: 978-0805210040
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 60 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,966,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey Expanded Edition
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From School Library Journal
YA-- A revised edition of Schlissel's 1982 book (Schocken) about the journey westward in mid-19th-century America from the point of view of the women involved. Readers will find first-person narrations by the women themselves after an extensive (160 pages) introduction that not only sets the scene, but also adequately describes the trials and tribulations on this difficult journey. The author has added an entry from the diary of a 16-year-old bride that presents a lighter side of the trek. A worthwhile addition not only for frontier studies but also for its perspective on women's issues.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Inside Flap
An expanded edition of one of the most original and provocative works of American history of the last decade, which documents the pioneering experiences and grit of American frontier women.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
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There are several extended quotes of diaries at the back of the book (definitely not the whole diary), and snippets throughout the chapters, but most of the writing is the author explaining things to the reader.
There are also pictures of some of the diary writers who are quoted. (Why do they always look stern?)
The hardships these women (families) went through are incredible, physical and mental.
Think of camping on the open plains for 5 months,
finding food & water from the land (or sometimes indians),
being sick (and for many people, dying) with no doctor, medicine, or hospital around,
and since many women travelled while pregnant - giving birth in a covered wagon, then moving on the next day.
Many travelled with children, some of whom died & had to be buried, never to visit their grave again. In some cases, people were buried under the trail, so the grave would be obliterated and the indians wouldn't know where to dig to get their clothing.
Schlissel fills in some of the omissions in the stories of the prim and proper Victorian ladies: how did they deal with things like childbirth, periods, or relieving oneself when there wasn't a privy to be had for hundreds of miles? These are the kinds of things they don't teach you in history classes.
For some of the diarists, going West was a marvelous adventure. For others, it was an ordeal they had to endure because their husbands or fathers wanted to go, and the women did not feel they had any other choice. This book is a marvelous window into the thoughts and feelings of our pioneer fore-mothers. The journal entries, combined with photographs from this period, make for a fascinating read.
Prof. Schlissel has used the diaries and letters of these women to draw a picture of their daily lives and concerns during the journey.