Synopses & Reviews
Using a host of primary sources, author Brandon Marie Miller recounts the roles, hardships, and daily lives of Native American, European, and African women in 17th- and 18th-century colonial America. Hard work proved a constant for most women—they ensured their family’s survival through their skills while others sold their labor or lived in bondage as indentured servants and slaves.
Even in this world defined entirely by men, a world where no one thought it important to record a female’s thoughts, women found ways to step forth. Elizabeth Ashbridge survived an abusive indenture to become a Quaker preacher. Anne Bradstreet penned epic poetry while raising eight children in the wilderness. Anne Hutchinson went toe-to-toe with Puritan authorities. Margaret Hardenbroeck Philipse built a trade empire in New Amsterdam. Martha Corey lost her life in the vortex of Salem’s witch hunt. And Eve, a Virginia slave, twice ran away to freedom. With strength, courage, resilience, and resourcefulness, these women and many others played a vital role in the mosaic of life in colonial America.
"Miller (Thomas Jefferson for Kids) offers a comprehensive look at the lives of pioneer women, both in general and specifically, who bravely ventured to the American west in the mid-19th century. Seven detailed chapters delve into such topics as harrowing trail journeys ('omen hardened to shocking sights seeing the dead lowered into graves without coffins or funerals, watching haunted people tramping home after giving up the struggle.... Young ones wandered off or fell and were crushed beneath wagon wheels'), the hardships of homesteading life, frontier entertainment, and female political activism. Fascinating, mini-biographies of 16 women round out each chapter, incorporating excerpts from letters and journals. Readers meet former slave Clara Brown, who amassed an entrepreneurial fortune in Colorado but lost it helping others, as well as Donner Party survivor Margret Reed, whose story is harrowing, as are those of two women held captive by the Comanche. Missionary and army wives, widows and entertainers all impress and inspire as they survive, sometimes thrive, and carve out new lives for themselves. B&w archival illustrations and photographs punctuate the text. Ages 12 up." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Comprehensive” and “fascinating.”—PublishersWeekly.com
"Gripping...[a] strong, engaging narrative"—Booklist
“A thoughtful and attractive presentation of a complex and intriguing topic.”—Kirkus Reviews
Winner of:2014 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young PeopleNominated for:2014 YALSA Nonfiction Award Using journal entries, letters home, and song lyrics, the women of the West speak for themselves in these tales of courage, enduring spirit, and adventure. Women such as Amelia Stewart Knight traveling on the Oregon Trail, homesteader Miriam Colt, entrepreneur Clara Brown, army wife Frances Grummond, actress Adah Isaacs Menken, naturalist Martha Maxwell, missionary Narcissa Whitman, and political activist Mary Lease are introduced to readers through their harrowing stories of journeying across the plains and mountains to unknown land. Recounting the impact pioneers had on those who were already living in the region as well as how they adapted to their new lives and the rugged, often dangerous landscape, this exploration also offers resources for further study and reveals how these influential women tamed the Wild West.
About the Author
Brandon Marie Miller is the author of Benjamin Franklin, American Genius; George Washington for Kids; and Women of the Frontier. She has received a dozen national awards for her writing.