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CJP has written another enjoyable western about a man and woman who meet over a Grizzly Bear. From that point on they felt loved by each other even though they faced a lot of trials and tribulations. They faced these together and survived. This is an perfect read for the genre.....ER
I grab every book by it as soon as I see it. I am 80, so I remember some of the things in the books. I have fun almost everything in the stories. Some times there are small mistakes created with names, and in an earlier story, mention was created of castrating a female cow. But overall I love the books Gordon.
Linda Colley came across Ms. Marsh while researching her earlier "Captives," and found her compelling enough to devote a full work to her. The author utilizes a broad range of sources in reconstructing the life of an obscure person, albeit one who published her own pirate yarn after ransom from Morocco. How obscure? Colley did not unearth any photos of her subject, and cannot finally determine Marsh's racial composition. But Marsh personifies the connections and networks within which 18C global travelers created their way, so her story tells us a amazing deal about her world. The narrative moves briskly for the most part, though info of family business affairs are tedious at times; "Ordeal" well conveys the sense of a rapidly changing, increasingly mobile globe (globalization long predates NAFTA and the Internet). It quite effectively engenders 18C globe history from the perspective of an unusual but representative woman's life. As a Royal Navy brat she had an advantage over other travelers of the age, often securing passage on ships that normally didn't take civilians; as a effect she probably saw more of the globe than any female contemporary. The tides of history often buffeted Marsh so that she did not control her destiny, but she emerges as a strong-willed woman in an era with small use for them.
The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh is a fascinating tale of a globe we cannot remember or recognize. Elizabeth Marsh, of questionable race, origins, and status, traveled the globe and saw the ways it interacted with various people. At times treated as a half-slave or as a member of the conquering aristocracy, Elizabeth Marsh illustrated the globalization of trade networks and travel during the 18th century, a globe where the United States did not yet exist, pirates roamed the seas, and where her admittedly scarcely-documented life was lived. Elizabeth Marsh lived in tumultuous times, and faced them with resourcefulness and skill as she sought the shelter of locations free from the storms of battle and r historians, this is a amazing resource to demonstrate the state of the globe in a particular time and to use one person's life to illustrate the variable nature of society, status, and women's rights. One unbelievable bit comes from Colley's preface, where she notes that a lot of historians and biographers often choose to shorten or minimize the names within their books. By contrast, Colley shows that a woman like Elizabeth Marsh changed names and identities; she married, but had companionship with an unmarried man; Elizabeth Marsh is the method to identify a woman without demeaning her accomplishments or acting unduly familiar (no Lizzies here).Last, Colley's work pulls on resources from a half-dozen nations, including some who came of being within Elizabeth Marsh's life. I would challenge a lot of readers to understand the ways that this forces a historian to spread themselves thin. Thinking of all the biographers who can barely encompass a biography in one nation and one language, the sheer scale and depth of this book is impressive, even if it cannot create up materials to tell a more compelling tale of Elizabeth Marsh's life.
You expect a biography to tell you about someone important, someone who has gained accomplishments in some field of human endeavor, and because of the accomplishments is worth coming to understand as some sort of outstanding example (good or bad) of humanity. Chances are you have never heard of Elizabeth Marsh, an Englishwoman of the eighteenth century, and it isn't that she has an undeserved obscurity. Her life was various in a lot of ways from those of her contemporaries, but she had no unique talents or accomplishments, and her life was not exemplary in any way. So it is in some ways odd that historian Linda Colley has created her the topic of a penetrating biography, _The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in Globe History_ (Pantheon). Colley has pieced together what can be known of Elizabeth Marsh's life from the spotty writings of Marsh and her family, but as an expert on globe history of Marsh's times, she has place the life in the context of the begin of globalization. It was a confusing age full of changes that no one knew were coming, and Elizabeth Marsh and her family, who had ties to the British navy and to seagoing trade, thus were in the middle of the changes. In this method Colley's book is history from the bottom up, an attempt to understand the lives of a few ordinary people caught up in larger events.Elizabeth Marsh got her beginning far from England, born in Jamaica in 1735. Her father was a ship's carpenter, and there is a surprising ease of access to shipboard travel throughout Elizabeth Marsh's life. Her traveling life, her true life, began in 1755, when her family sailed to Menorca, and later to Gibraltar. In 1756 she boarded the _Ann_, a merchantman full of a cargo of brandy, commanded by James Crisp, and thus that she began the prime adventure of her life. The _Ann_ was attacked by Moroccan pirates, and all those aboard were kidnapped and taken to Marrakech, where she had to confront the Sultan who may have wanted her for his harem; she was saved at least partially because she pretended to be James Crisp's wife. When they were released, they married for real. Crisp was involved in the nautical trades of tea, textiles, liquor, dried fish, and anything else. His trade was not always legal, but he had contacts worldwide and seems to have been energetic in his business dealings. His trade, however, did not go well due to global issues well above his capacity to predict or manage. He declared bankruptcy in 1767, moved with Elizabeth to India where he worked in the East India Company, but also failed there. The travels of the couple had worn them down; Colley writes that the fissures in the marriage were "due to the method in which she and he were repeatedly driven and chose to travel very huge distances on land and sea." She had left him, traveling ostensibly for her health, but in the company of an unmarried man, touring down the Indian eastern seaboard. She outlived her husband by six years, dying of breast cancer after a mastectomy at only age ere are few info and anecdotes to create Mr. and Mrs. Crisp fully rounded characters, but they are within these pages mere sport for larger historical and economic events. They are battered by battles between England and France, and then England and America, although neither of them saw a shot fired in either conflict. The opening up of globe markets, the changes in the slave trade, the conversion from agriculture to industry, and other revolutions all affected the couple. Colley's book succeeds in showing how these huge, sweeping forces affected a woman who could not have understood them and could have done nothing even if she had. Globalization meant, as Colley writes, that "the globe was both widening and shrinking" and thus the lives of Elizabeth Marsh and a lot of of the others detailed here were "twisted out of customary moulds in the process". Colley intelligently, but unforcefully, reminds us a lot of times in these pages that we are in the midst of fresh and even more strong globalization forces, and Elizabeth Marsh's "shock and wonder, entrapment and fresh opportunities, remain eloquent and recognizable."
Colley traces Elizabeth Marsh's travels from her birth in Jamaica in the 18th century to her return to England and her journeys by ship through Asia including a pirate adventure. However, the story is far from an adventure tale. It's a detailed excursion of what Colley is able to research about these travels. The focus is not on increasing tension but in attempting to develop a real to history acc of Marsh's life. It is often difficult to develop this acc because while Colley is able to unearth a surprising amount of material about (and by) a rather obscure woman, it is still largely incomplete. Colley does attempt to stick with what she has evidence for and when she dives into conjecture she acknowledges that she is doing so. So, you do feel like you are getting a historically accurate portrayal. However what she loses in her adherence to accuracy is anything to compel the reader on. You never obtain to know the woman Elizabeth Marsh except through very brief examples covered in lots of research e book works as a well-researched picture of British history in its postcolonial posts through the eyes of a middle class, unusual woman (so in that case this is not a picture of postcolonial history but a very specific portrayal). We obtain info about the extreme poverty and disease in Jamaica and brief looks at the British East Indian influence in India (and the power it held) and glimpses of life on ship in this e book does not work as a compelling portrait of an adventurous woman. I never really cared about Marsh and often forgot about her entirely, paying more attention to the rest of the book than to what was event to Marsh. There are multiple forays into the history of other people around her that were distracting and not particularly enlightening.
A amazing book -- I discovered it from my History Book Club, before the amazing reviews poured in from the critics. I think the Fresh York Times had it as one of its ten best at the end of the year. For all persons interested in women's history, biography, India, Caribbean. Shows how much certain intrepid souls traveled in days of yore. And a rarity in those days--tales written by a woman. The author has done her research carefully & thoroughly; text is simple to follow, not boring. Loved the fact that she was similar to Edmund Burke.
Professor Colley has done a lot of research on Britain's 18th century world, and this book has come out of that. She presents an extraordinary interweaving of naval history, commerce, the status of women, slavery, and the emergence of the USA, among other subjects. I like the method she is upfront about her speculation about Elizabeth Marsh. As she goes along she makes it clear what is in the record, what she believes would have been typical of the era, and what she is only guessing at. Very admirable. But I found the book dry in places. A small more scholarly than I was in the mood for.