Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “First Generations: Women in Colonial America” as Want to Read:
First Generations: Women in Colonial America
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

First Generations: Women in Colonial America

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  126 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Carol Berkin's multicultural history reconstructs the lives of American women in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries-women from European, African, and Native backgrounds-and examines their varied roles as wives, mothers, household managers, laborers, rebels, and, ultimately, critical forces in shaping the new nation's culture and history.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 1st 1997 by Hill and Wang (first published 1996)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about First Generations, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about First Generations

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 321)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Berkin provides rich narratives of specific colonial women to describe their varied experiences, and it is within the variation that she believes one can bring these women to life. First Generations approaches the subject of colonial women and their experiences from a feminist perspectives. Much of what we know comes from legal documents and it seems that with marriage (and its significance as a gateway to adulthood), women's rights diminished as they were treated as "children, idiots, and crimi ...more
This book is outstanding! The only thing that kept it from being a 5 star is that I felt the chapter on African American women's experience was too light.

I loved how this book fleshed out my basic understanding of colonial life. Even though some of the information was somewhat shocking (some Indian communities responded to the threat of English rape/sexual relations with the women in their groups by providing designated women to provide for the English male "needs") it never conflicted with con
Sarah Trabert
This is a well-written and engaging book that offers a history of colonial women through individual and personal accounts. I would not recommend this book,however, to readers hoping for equal descriptions of Euro-American, Native American, and African American women. Due in part to the available documentation and I think author preference, this book does focus on white women of varying social classes with only two chapters devoted to all the rest of women living in Colonial America. Still a very ...more
Interesting, clear, and concise. I read it for school, but I didn't mind doing the readings at all. It's more about breadth and not so much on depth, but it does give a really interesting quick look at the different types of women in colonial America and the differences and similarities in their experiences.

I wouldn't necessarily read it for pleasure, but if it is a subject that particularly appeals to you, then I would say go ahead and read it.
Read for History 556

Berkin's style of honing in on specific women and telling their stories, then zooming out to put them in a broader historical setting was not only informative, but actually INTERESTING- something not always easy to do. She also focused on women in the many diverse environments in early America: not merely the Puritan women of New England. A good read for outside the classroom as well!
ONTD Feminism
LJ user munkymp3 says, "This is book on how women were treated in the colonial era, whether Puritan or Native American. It's a great documentation of a string of historical events. A bit dry in writing but it's good if you want to understand how women were respected (and how they weren't) compared to today. It gave me a great understanding of how society has progressed and how they've regressed."
Mar 16, 2008 Sue rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: history
This book is a set of individual case studies representing women of different regions. A interesting and quick read. A good overview to women in the mostly early colonial era.
You really have to like all things: Social-anthropological to appreciate all the information in this text
Lauren Csaki
"Women in Colonial America" is not a topic on which there exists an extensive amount of primary source material. Carol Berkin has nevertheless put together an interesting and enlightening book on what life was like for women in colonial America. What's more (and what was my favorite aspect of the book), she discusses the differences in the lives of women between the different regions of America. A Massachusetts woman did not have the same life experience as a Virginian, and it's these difference ...more
This was an excellent book about early colonial women. I now understand the different inheritance issues depending on the colony and the will of the husband. I loved that the author picked out women from different colonial regions to tell their story. I met this author at a conference and wish I had all her books for her to autograph for me. Highly recommend this book.
Oct 15, 2014 Laura added it
I've used this several times now in teaching early American women's history. It's a very good synthesis, and Berkin opens each chapter with an individual woman whose life story illuminates the focus of the chapter.
Engaging read that paints a vivid picture of women's lives in Colonial times (especially given the dearth of primary sources.)
Very readable book that provides interesting information about everyday life in colonial America, much of which I had not read in any other history book. It really helped flesh out my understanding of the challenges faced by the different segments of the population during that era.
DanielaK marked it as to-read
Aug 02, 2015
Hany Kalash
Hany Kalash marked it as to-read
Jul 31, 2015
Cindy Hart
Cindy Hart marked it as to-read
Jul 31, 2015
Peggie Hart
Peggie Hart marked it as to-read
Jul 30, 2015
Kip is currently reading it
Jul 19, 2015
Angelina marked it as to-read
Jul 16, 2015
Nicole is currently reading it
Jul 07, 2015
Hannah Wood
Hannah Wood marked it as to-read
Jul 02, 2015
Heidi Brown Lynn
Heidi Brown Lynn marked it as to-read
Jun 29, 2015
Maranda Heltenberg
Maranda Heltenberg marked it as to-read
Jun 23, 2015
Carina added it
Jun 22, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750
  • Home Life in Colonial Days
  • A History of U.S. Feminisms
  • The Scratch of a Pen: 1763 and the Transformation of North America (Pivotal Moments in American History)
  • Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England
  • Empires at War: The French and Indian War and the Struggle for North America, 1754-1763
  • Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves & the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia
  • Women on the Margins: Three Seventeenth-Century Lives
  • Our Savage Neighbors: How Indian War Transformed Early America
  • Gay L. A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians
  • Women's Indian Captivity Narratives
  • Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion
  • The Unknown American Revolution: The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create America
  • Invisible Girls: The Truth About Sexual Abuse--A Book for Teen Girls, Young Women, and Everyone Who Cares About Them
  • To Begin the World Anew: The Genius and Ambiguities of the American Founders
  • Men and Feminism: Seal Studies
  • Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647
  • Death by Petticoat: American History Myths Debunked
A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America's Independence Civil War Wives: The Lives and Times of Angelina Grimke Weld, Varina Howell Davis, and Julia Dent Grant Wondrous Beauty: The Life and Adventures of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte Women's Voices, Women's Lives

Share This Book