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The Bürgermeister's Daughter: Scandal in a Sixteenth-Century German Town
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The Bürgermeister's Daughter: Scandal in a Sixteenth-Century German Town

3.33  ·  Rating Details ·  281 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
In an era when women were supposed to be disciplined and obedient, Anna proved to be neither. Defying 16th-century social mores, she was the frequent subject of gossip because of her immodest dress and flirtatious behavior. When her wealthy father discovered that she was having secret, simultaneous affairs with a young nobleman and a cavalryman, he turned her out of the ho ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 27th 1997 by Harper Perennial (first published 1996)
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(showing 1-30)
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Batgrl (Book Data Kept Elsewhere)
I was rummaging through the shelves and came upon this book - and stopped because I can not remember where it came from. It could have been bought in a used bookstore binge years ago (I guess that because it's hardcover) - or I could have "borrowed" it from my father, who has a similar relationship with the used bookstore. Well, however it managed to get here, it's now on the to read pile. (Humorously my father can't remember buying it either.)

What I immediately liked in the first chapter was th
...more
Diana Sandberg
May 08, 2012 Diana Sandberg rated it liked it
History is so constrained by what people have chosen to set down and remember. This book is an interesting attempt to reach into 16th-century life through the examination of a bitter legal dispute that stretched over much of one woman's lifetime. Ozment does a good job of setting this personal struggle into its historical context. I wouldn't necessarily call this a page-turner, but I liked it.
Sarah
Sep 18, 2016 Sarah rated it liked it
3.25/5 stars
Zach
Oct 09, 2007 Zach rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Kjell Schroder
I like this book. IT's a really interesting subject told as objectively and dry as possible. I get increasingly annoyed wtih creative nonfiction, which adds psychology and thought to figures we only know through centuries old 1st or 2nd hand accounts. WE dont' know whether someone said something with conviction, or grimaced in thought. This is not creative nonfiction. But the fact that this was just told through legal proceedings, and is still able to make it compelling, show's the quality of Oz ...more
Carla Remy
Jan 01, 2013 Carla Remy rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Very interesting very thorough history about 1500s Germany. I may have skimmed over some parts.
Laura
May 30, 2008 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
An interesting social and legal history, this book tells the story of Anna Buschler and her family's legal struggles in the mid 15th century. Anna lives a rather scandalous life in her mid-twenties, and as a result is disinherited by her father, the Burgermeister (mayor) of Hall. The rest of her life is spent trying to secure the financial support of her family and her inheritance in a prolonged legal struggle against first her father, and then her siblings and the city of Hall itself. Ozment, l ...more
Heep
Mar 23, 2014 Heep rated it liked it
Not every history has to be written with a beautiful narrative, and the underlying story in this book is undeniably fascinating. The available source materials are pretty amazing in their detail. It is staggering that so much has survived. This makes it hard to apply one interpretation. There are so many witnesses, often with widely varying interpretations, that it defies a single, pat explanation. This should make for a rich and thoroughly authentic story. Unfortunately, the writing here tends ...more
S a r a h
Feb 07, 2017 S a r a h rated it liked it
I can't say this was a most interesting book, in fact, it was really quite boring. The most interesting parts were the letters. This would be a good book for legitimate information for work or school purpose. This falls short of leisurely reading.
Beverly
Feb 18, 2013 Beverly rated it liked it
I'm not much on history (as in I was never good at memorizing dates) but this is a fascinating story. Makes you realize some things never change. Families could be just as dysfunctional 500 years back as they can be now. It was difficult to follow the laws of the day but it seems there were laws to protect women just as there were laws that gave parents of unwed adult children odd power over them. All in all, an interesting read.
Mary Newcomb
Anna Buschler is not the ideal daughter. When recovering two barrels of stolen items, her father discovers her letters (this is the 1500s, no e-mail) and learns that she has relationships with two unacceptable men. Since it is the 1500s and she is only 25 or so, he still has some semblance of control over her and her funds. She leaves and sues. He loses and kidnaps her, then holds her hostage in the family home for 6 months. More lawsuits and oh my! Fascinating reading.

Christopher Borum
May 06, 2015 Christopher Borum rated it really liked it
Interesting social history of Germany in the first half of the 16th century. I was a little concerned that it was mostly the letters of Anna's that had been preserved, which I wouldn't care to read in full. But these took up only one section of the book. The rest is narrative using the letters between Anna and her boyfriends to set the stage for a discussion of her lifelong battles against her father, siblings, and the city council as well as the social conditions prevailing at the time.
Mrs. Quinn
Aug 23, 2016 Mrs. Quinn rated it did not like it
I didn't finish reading this book mostly because I couldn't figure out what the author's point was in his presentation of facts. The burgermeister seems to have had a thoroughly dysfunctional family and misplaced priorities, and that the author orients his writing around the scandalous daughter seems to lack insight and miss the point. I gave up and stopped reading.
Sarah
Jun 26, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it
"Where there is a will, there are angry relatives" kind of sums it up. It's also not the first family I know about that cares about "stuff" more than people. Also- once you create a bunch of documentation about your failure to socialize more or less reasonably in your family of origin you get to embarrass yourself way beyond your little medieval pond.
Carmen
Apr 22, 2009 Carmen rated it really liked it
Shelves: european-history
Steven Ozment's style is easy to read and comprehend. He brings history to life. Here a family is struggling. A father is unhappy with his daughter's choices and tries to control her. Some things never change. But by using court documents and letters Mr. Ozment is able to bring it to life and let us see just how much freer than we might have thought the people of that time were.
Lawrence
Mar 14, 2007 Lawrence rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: History buffs
The story of an Early Modern European girl who was led astray by local nobility. Interesting to compare modern attitudes with Early Modern society. This is NOT a novel or historical fiction. It is a history book. If you're looking for a light read, it is not for you.
Karisa
I have to read this book in 3 days, preferably in 2 days as the I have to write a book review on it for my renaissance focused, history class. I'll update you on here as well, once I have finished it.
Madelon
Sep 12, 2009 Madelon rated it really liked it
This book is a fine example of an eminently readable serious history book. It's meticulously researched and totally amazing that a Harvard history prof could write such an interesting study of a highly unusual woman's life in 16th century Germany.
Russ
May 15, 2012 Russ rated it really liked it
I traveled to this part of the world this summer. The book was on the suggested reading list. Being the slow reader that I am, I did not start reading the book until after I got back. I agree with most of the other reviewers. It gives an insight into this part of the world at that time.
Russel Strawn
Interesting history about an area I travel. Unfortunately I traveled first and read the book second.
Katie
Nov 07, 2007 Katie rated it it was ok
I was required to read this book for a class. It was okay for an assigned reading, but I would never read it leisurely. It was very dry.
Rock
Jun 03, 2008 Rock rated it really liked it
Ozment does much better with a more focused topic than "A Mighty Fortress."
Allison Thurman
Jan 18, 2010 Allison Thurman marked it as to-read
Library
Keith
Did not find all of the legal wrangling about inheritance to be all that intriguing; never finished reading it.
Annette
Oct 02, 2010 Annette rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
Very good, I enjoyed the format even though I don't usually like reading personal letters in books. Ozment is an impressive historian. He reveals many surprising things about the time period.
Noran Miss Pumkin
Aug 07, 2008 Noran Miss Pumkin marked it as to-read
bookstore find 8/08.
Douglas Wilson
Feb 21, 2009 Douglas Wilson rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Fascinating.
Jessica
Jan 23, 2009 Jessica rated it it was ok
Shelves: college
Had to read this book for my Families in Historical Perspective class in college. The actual story I enjoyed but all the legal mumbo jumbo really got bogged down after awhile.
Aubrey
Mar 05, 2012 Aubrey added it
Started for book club and never finished. Another failure on my part, but the story is interesting and true. Love a good scandal.
Crystal
Apr 28, 2014 Crystal rated it liked it
The author managed to turn a salacious subject into a dry read. It seemed factual and fair, but ultimately not very interesting.
Oliver Bogler
Aug 19, 2012 Oliver Bogler rated it it was amazing
Great micro history. Readable, and interesting, showing many social structures that we think of as modern, but which already existed in the late middle ages.
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