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Other titles in the Gender and American Culture series:
Captain Ahab Had a Wife: New England Women and the Whalefishery, 1720-1870 (Gender and American Culture)by Lisa Norling
Synopses & Reviews
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the whaling industry in New England sent hundreds of ships and thousands of men to distant seas on voyages lasting up to five years. In Captain Ahab Had a Wife, Lisa Norling taps a rich vein of sources—including women's and men's letters and diaries, shipowners' records, Quaker meeting minutes and other church records, newspapers and magazines, censuses, and city directories—to reconstruct the lives of the "Cape Horn widows" left behind onshore.
Norling begins with the emergence of colonial whalefishery on the island of Nantucket and then follows the industry to mainland New Bedford in the nineteenth century, tracking the parallel shift from a patriarchal world to a more ambiguous Victorian culture of domesticity. Through the sea-wives' compelling and often poignant stories, Norling exposes the painful discrepancies between gender ideals and the reality of maritime life and documents the power of gender to shape both economic development and individual experience.
William and Mary Quarterly A thorough and penetrating history.
Sea History [This book] gives a larger, more nuanced picture of whaling behind the scenes than anywhere else I know of.
American Studies A signal achievement in American women's and gender history. . . . Scholars will ignore her at their peril.
Journal of American History This book is required reading . . . for anyone interested in maritime gender systems.
International Journal of Maritime History
A social history that uncovers the lives of maritime women in New England villages whose men were whalers during the 18th and 19th centuries. Norling draws from a variety of sources—including women's and men's letters and diaries, shipowners' records, church records, newspapers and magazines, censuses, and city directories to uncover the women's often poignant and painful stories.
About the Author
Lisa Norling, associate professor of history at the University of Minnesota, is coeditor of Iron Men, Wooden Women: Gender and Seafaring in the Atlantic World, 1700-1920.
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History and Social Science » Americana » General