Read First Generations: Women in Colonial America by Carol Berkin Online


Carol Berkin's multicultural history reconstructs the lives of American women in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries-women from European, African, and Native backgrounds-and examines their varied roles as wives, mothers, household managers, laborers, rebels, and, ultimately, critical forces in shaping the new nation's culture and history....

Title : First Generations: Women in Colonial America
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780809016068
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

First Generations: Women in Colonial America Reviews

  • Isabel
    2018-10-25 05:46

    This book is outstanding! The only thing that kept it from being a 5 star is that I felt the chapter on African American women's experience was too light. I loved how this book fleshed out my basic understanding of colonial life. Even though some of the information was somewhat shocking (some Indian communities responded to the threat of English rape/sexual relations with the women in their groups by providing designated women to provide for the English male "needs") it never conflicted with conventional history. The difficulties of early colonial life and the effect of the sexual imbalance as men outnumbered women explains much of later gender roles as well as a lot of early society. Revolutionay women and their response to war on the home front sheds light on what civilians in any war experience. I never understood how Sacagewea and Pocahontas played such important roles as intermediaries between colonists and Indians. Berkin explains that in the early days, though, women held powerful roles in their tribes as leaders, so this connection makes more sense. Also, Berkin explains how the communities interrelated as some Indians took in white refugees from colonial rule and took in captured white children to replace their own children whom they had lost to disease or war. She also explains that some Indians were kidnapped and taken to Europe as curiosities and, in a sense, ambassadors. Suddenly it makes sense that there were bilingual Indians to help the Pilgrims when they settled in Massachusetts! The rise of consumerism in the mid-1700s was news to me. I just never granted it much significance. But Berkin explains how this influenced social roles and political and economic developments. The descriptions of the women and children war camp followers were really eye opening. It also made the idea of female soldiers less outrageous than a natural occurance. Fascinating!!The cover of the book is a perfect symbol for the history inside: the author (and the rest of us) are direct descendents of all the women who came before us. I am hugely in debt to the Carol Berkin for collecting many of the historical documents from these women and putting them together in a history that reveals herstory--our story.New (to me) Fact: Quakers kept slaves. This was in the chapter about women's work.

  • Susie Meister
    2018-11-08 06:01

    Berkin provides rich narratives of specific colonial women to describe their varied experiences, and it is within the variation that she believes one can bring these women to life. First Generations approaches the subject of colonial women and their experiences from a feminist perspectives. Much of what we know comes from legal documents and it seems that with marriage (and its significance as a gateway to adulthood), women's rights diminished as they were treated as "children, idiots, and criminals." Public order was a priority, and to transgress family fules and norms was to upset public order. The difference in gender roles and relationship among Quakers upset the Puritans. The witch trials, Berkin points out, took place during the transfer of power from a Puritan to a royal regime and the transition between agrarian and industrial economies, which created great tension. In contrast to the settlers, many Indians held women in esteem, some even following matriarchal hierarchy. The middle colonies had a varied expressions of women's proper work roles creating a "Babel of Confusion." Slaves too lacked uniformity in structure and treatment. Virginia and Maryland plantations preserved African folk traditions of magic etc... Immigration increased the diversity of colonial experience. "A rural white woman's daily life, then, was shaped by her race, her social class, and by where she was in the socially defined life cycle." (141) The Revolution changed the role of women, and indeed their mobilization efforts were vital to success.

  • Sarah Trabert
    2018-11-06 06:08

    This is a well-written and engaging book that offers a history of colonial women through individual and personal accounts. I would not recommend this book,however, to readers hoping for equal descriptions of Euro-American, Native American, and African American women. Due in part to the available documentation and I think author preference, this book does focus on white women of varying social classes with only two chapters devoted to all the rest of women living in Colonial America. Still a very interesting read in a very reader-friendly style.

  • Sarah
    2018-11-08 09:11

    Interesting, clear, and concise. I read it for school, but I didn't mind doing the readings at all. It's more about breadth and not so much on depth, but it does give a really interesting quick look at the different types of women in colonial America and the differences and similarities in their experiences.I wouldn't necessarily read it for pleasure, but if it is a subject that particularly appeals to you, then I would say go ahead and read it.

  • Clare
    2018-11-17 04:08

    Read for History 556Berkin's style of honing in on specific women and telling their stories, then zooming out to put them in a broader historical setting was not only informative, but actually INTERESTING- something not always easy to do. She also focused on women in the many diverse environments in early America: not merely the Puritan women of New England. A good read for outside the classroom as well!

  • ONTD Feminism
    2018-10-27 04:01

    LJ user munkymp3 says, "This is book on how women were treated in the colonial era, whether Puritan or Native American. It's a great documentation of a string of historical events. A bit dry in writing but it's good if you want to understand how women were respected (and how they weren't) compared to today. It gave me a great understanding of how society has progressed and how they've regressed."

  • Sue
    2018-11-07 04:47

    This book is a set of individual case studies representing women of different regions. A interesting and quick read. A good overview to women in the mostly early colonial era.

  • Jaclynn
    2018-11-18 10:09

    You really have to like all things: Social-anthropological to appreciate all the information in this text

  • Lauren Csaki
    2018-10-28 05:13

    "Women in Colonial America" is not a topic on which there exists an extensive amount of primary source material. Carol Berkin has nevertheless put together an interesting and enlightening book on what life was like for women in colonial America. What's more (and what was my favorite aspect of the book), she discusses the differences in the lives of women between the different regions of America. A Massachusetts woman did not have the same life experience as a Virginian, and it's these differences that really breathes life, complexity, and interest into a world some two hundred and fifty years removed from our own. After a childhood education where the "thirteen colonies" were handled practically as a single entity, I found Berkin's book to be enlightening and refreshing.

  • Jackie
    2018-11-10 10:52

    This was an excellent book about early colonial women. I now understand the different inheritance issues depending on the colony and the will of the husband. I loved that the author picked out women from different colonial regions to tell their story. I met this author at a conference and wish I had all her books for her to autograph for me. Highly recommend this book.

  • Laura
    2018-10-19 11:11

    I've used this several times now in teaching early American women's history. It's a very good synthesis, and Berkin opens each chapter with an individual woman whose life story illuminates the focus of the chapter.

  • Courtney
    2018-11-17 10:03

    Very readable book that provides interesting information about everyday life in colonial America, much of which I had not read in any other history book. It really helped flesh out my understanding of the challenges faced by the different segments of the population during that era.

  • Michael Foerster
    2018-10-31 11:14


  • Tessa
    2018-11-05 04:09

    Native American, black, and white women's experiences during Colonial America are often overlooked and erased from history. This book does an excellent job at including these histories.

  • Jaime
    2018-10-30 08:55

    Hate It

  • Heiderose
    2018-11-04 05:16

    Engaging read that paints a vivid picture of women's lives in Colonial times (especially given the dearth of primary sources.)