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

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  199 ratings  ·  29 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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Batgrl (Not Trusting GR With My Reviews/Shelves Now)
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
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.
Oct 09, 2007 Zach rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Very interesting very thorough history about 1500s Germany. I may have skimmed over some parts.
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
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
"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.
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.

Beverly Rodowski
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.
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.
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.
Mar 14, 2007 Lawrence rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nonfiction. 16th century Germany. A woman battles with her father over her inheritance. She sleeps around, he wants to disown her, he behaves like a jerk. Interesting but repetitious.
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.
Oliver Bogler
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.
Nuala Seamus
Interesting legal history about a scandalous daughter, her cruel treatment by her father & her legal battles to keep her place & inheritance
Apr 03, 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.
The author managed to turn a salacious subject into a dry read. It seemed factual and fair, but ultimately not very interesting.
Did not find all of the legal wrangling about inheritance to be all that intriguing; never finished reading it.
Russel Strawn
Interesting history about an area I travel. Unfortunately I traveled first and read the book second.
Ozment does much better with a more focused topic than "A Mighty Fortress."
Shonna Froebel
A little dry.
Gave my copy to the library
Noran Miss Pumkin
Aug 07, 2008 Noran Miss Pumkin marked it as to-read
bookstore find 8/08.
Douglas Wilson
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.
Jan 18, 2010 A. marked it as to-read
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