October 17, 2002

Good Wives: Image and Reality of Women in Northern New England 1650-1750, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

This is Ulrich's first book, published in 1980. Unlike her other two, The Age of Homespun and A Midwife's Tale, she broadens her scope to encompass most of what is known about women's lives during the late 17th and early 18th century. It is an examination of the reality of women's lives and how it compared to the Puritan ideals of wife, mother and woman. Ulrich's use of primary materials and the stories of real women is fascinating and, as with the other two books she has written, her writing is crisp and clean. The early half of the book dealing with the role of woman as Bathsheba was particularly good. I should clarify that the Puritans saw Bathsheba as the mother of Solomon whom he idealized in Proverbs 31:10-31, rather than David's tempting bather on the housetop. I enjoyed the book a great deal and if you are a reader of colonial history, I would certainly look it up. It has perspectives not normally found in the more traditional history of the times.

Posted by Deb English at October 17, 2002 04:36 PM