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For Adam's Sake: A Family Saga in Colonial New England
In the tradition of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s classic, A Midwife’s Tale, comes this groundbreaking narrative by one of America’s most promising colonial historians. Joshua Hempstead was a well-respected farmer and tradesman in New London, Connecticut. As his remarkable diary—kept from 1711 until 1758—reveals, he was also a slave owner who owned Adam Jackson for over thirty ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published April 22nd 2013 by Liveright
(first published February 4th 2013)
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An interesting insight into a topic that I have rarely seen discussed, slavery and servitude in Colonial New England. In full disclosure, this was a book I felt compelled to buy and read as several of the people discussed in the book are direct ancestors of mine. This no doubt made the book considerably more interesting to me, than it might to an unconnected reader. The side stories in the book involving the Livingstons, Winthrops, Saltonstalls, and Dudleys, although generally unflattering, are ...more
What an outstanding written history! Beautifully written, good flow, incredibly researched. I'm sure I will run out of adjectives for this one. If you're a lover of history as I am, and the pre-Revolutionary War period is of interest to you, this is a must read. Outstanding is all I can say.
Adam Jackson, for whom this book was titled, was a black slave who spent his life working in 17th-early 18th century New London, CT. But Adam's own story does not begin until the book's second half. The title's second part, A Family Saga, is a more apt description of what this book is all about, though the word saga suggests much more drama than can be found here. Allegra Di Bonaventura, a scholar with a legal background, wrote a doctoral dissertation based upon the 47 year long Diary of Joshua ...more
This really brought colonial culture to life. I have never been particularly interested in the era, but found this book fascinating and vivid. Read almost like a 1600-1700's soap opera at times, which made it more contemporary, actually, and sort of humorous. - everyone is suing everyone else, but she touches on all aspects of the lifestyle. She also discusses the issue of colonial slavery in New England. The amount of research she did to pull it all together was massive! And it seems like New ...more
The library wants this book back so I'm returning it having read a little over half plus the epilogue. The book gives some fascinating insight into colonial New England life, with a special focus on slavery and religions. Unfortunately, so much of it is speculation that I found it easy to put down in spots so never finished it in my allotted 3 weeks. Others with more of a connection to the area or the people involved might find it riveting.
Very "choppy" and hard to follow at times. Too many non central characters introduced and little development of what I assumed to be the central character, Adam Jackson. That being said, the book does provide an interesting account of the struggles and subsistence living during early American colonial times.
Riveting story of life during the early 18th century for the common man, slaves, & indentured servants. Based on historical facts, the author weaves a wonderful story of the Jackson family (slaves) , the Hempsteads (shipwrights) & other residents of New London, Ct. Fascinating story! Must visit the Hempstead House soon.