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Ishmael (Ishmael #1)

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  582 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
You will never read a story that is more inspiring and challenging than Ishmael. The heights of success achieved by this young man reveal little of the utter poverty into which he was born. He entered life motherless and poor, and despite the wishes of everyone around, he survived and flourished in his paltry environment. His commitment to character and integrity and his s ...more
Leather Bound, 523 pages
Published 2005 by Lamplighter Publishing (first published 1850)
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R.A. Denny I spent years trying to figure this out and finally about a year ago discovered a reference online to a William Wirt, who was the U.S. Attorney…moreI spent years trying to figure this out and finally about a year ago discovered a reference online to a William Wirt, who was the U.S. Attorney General. Wirt was born in Maryland, orphaned at age 8, a hard worker of humble background who eventually prosecuted Aaron Burr. Many of the facts do not fit, but it is possible that he was the inspiration for the book. What do you think? (less)

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How is this not a more famous book? Or E.D.E.N Southworth not a more famous author? The book's hero too noble or the author's Christianity too apparent, perhaps? Nevertheless, this story is so fascinating and well-told and its hero's goodness and industry so affecting, that the book is very hard to put down once opened. Written and set in antebellum Maryland and Washington , D.C., it is easy to see why Ms. Southworth could have been considered the best storyteller of her time, or, if she was not ...more
Travis Binkley
Feb 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazingly awesome book. I've read it seven times. It was written over one hundred years ago (published in 1876). I highly recommend this book. My older brother and my two older sisters have all read this book, and they all thought it was one of the best books they've ever read.
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Hosanna by: Aubrey Rutledge
As soon as I held this book in my hands, I knew it would be a good read. The leather cover is beautiful and soft and so antique looking!! Goodreads's picture really doesn't do it justice.

For those who enjoy old-fashioned language, a slow-paced story, and Christian morals, Ishamel by E.D.E.N. Southwork is a perfect book. It covers the life of a young man who climbs out of the depths of poverty to achieve the goals God set before him. Ishmael is an inspiring individual with an intriguing history.
Feb 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
Kind of Elsie Dinsmore-ish, but it held my interest and there were some good parts. I'll probably read the sequel in the future.
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2013
What a wonderful book and fabulous story! The characters, were lovable, varied, and intriguing... Ishmael especially.I love to find a really good - an almost-unfailingly so - kind of hero, that's not annoyingly good in some overblown manner. Ishmael is very much the soul of integrity in this book, but is a compelling and very likable protagonist. His rise from obscurity through relentless perseverance, hard work, and unfailing honesty is admirable and an exemplary pattern to follow. As for the s ...more
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book (and it's sequel Self-Raised) is BEAUTIFUL. The plot line is so intense and you get so emotionally drawn into the story. SOuthworth's style is typical for the period, but her surprising plot twists set her apart for me from other writers of the time. She doesn't develope her characters as deeply as say, Jane Austen (who compares to her anyway?) but the chracters are lovable (and despisable) and aren't too "perfect", if you know what I mean. You will adore the main character and wish to ...more
R.A. Denny
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As a young girl, I discovered this book on my parent's bookshelf with my great-grandmother's signature in it. I was fascinated to think that my great-grandmother who raised my mother, and my grandmother, who died as a young woman, had both read this very book that I now held in my hands. I read it over and over again. The noble and compassionate nature of the young protagonist, Ishmael, was inspirational to me. Even the use of the outdated convention where the author speaks directly to the reade ...more
Leah Good
Oct 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Conceived in an innocent but terrible mistake, Ishmael is left a friendless infant and a poverty stricken child. His honesty, his thirst for knowledge, and his determination to work hard sets him apart from other boys. He grows into an honorable young man with only one weakness--his love for the beautiful but haughty Claudia. Will her terrible marriage to a viscount ruin Ishmael? Or will an earthy angel rescue him?

One of my favorite Lamplighter Books. A must read classic.
Bah! Humbug!
May 16, 2013 rated it liked it
well written interesting story, but has issues with racism. It's sad because her views would have been progressive at the time, but today this book may be too offensive for many to read which will drive them away from an otherwise good story.
Angie Thompson
Nov 30, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-finished
DNF - not necessarily bad, but too much tragedy for my taste
Ivy Miranda
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Finding a good story, with a strong hero that has good Christian morals, but doesn't come off as to good to be true can be difficult. However, Ishmael Worth's story from obscure, poor beginnings and his journey to become a respectable gentleman in pre-Civil War American society, really has the makings of a great Christian hero.

Ishmael was written by E.D.E.N. Southworth in 1876 and is loosely inspired by the life of Ishmael Worth who became the first man to ever defend a woman in court. Ishmael
Robert Tessmer
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

–verb (used without object)
to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly.

Perseverance is probably one of the hardest qualities for a person to develop, and it yet it is also one of the most rewarding. With enough perseverance, greatness can be achieved, no matter what circumstances, obstacles or hardships stand in in the way. It is this quality that stands at the center of E. D. E. N. Southworth's 1876
Jean Gobel
Sep 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good 1800's read, somewhat melodramatic. Ishmael was born in poverty to a young mother who died in childbirth, remains unacknowledged by his unknown father - unknown to everyone except Aunt Hannah. Hannah, who promised her dying sister never to relate the name of the boy's father, only that they had indeed been lawfully married, was not happy to raise this child of her sister's, and indeed for some time, wished he would die. But Ishmael survived. He grew to have a loving personality, deep mora ...more
Marianne West
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have a very early edition of this book that belonged to my mother. Inside the book was a preface that really intrigued me, and I want to share an excerpt from it. This is in reference to the main character: "His identity will be recognized by those who were familiar with his early personalized history; but for obvious reasons his real name must be veiled under a fictitious one here". There is more in the preface but this statement piqued my interest and gave me a challenge to research. I think ...more
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have been engulfed in this book this entire week and I'm just not ready to part from all the characters. My fiance, on the other hand, is very much ready for me to leave the 1800s behind and rejoin him. The story took off at a slow pace, but if you commit to reading this in its entirety, you will pleased that you did. Unlike reading novels based in the 1800s, this story was written then. I appreciated the authentic glance into that time period, even if that meant it offended my senses especial ...more
Elyse Kelly
Aug 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
For the most part, Southworth wrote characters who were definitively good or bad and you could tell this because the good were perfect and the bad were...not. However, she did introduce a few characters who were not at all perfect. People were sinning and making mistakes and yet she had you feeling sympathy for them anyway. This was the first novel I read in which the protagonist had a serious flaw. Being used to reading about people who could do no wrong, my senses were a little shocked and baf ...more
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was skeptical at first about this book. It started slow. It kept my interest so that was good. And then it got better.

The whole time I was reading I could tell it was a Lamplighter book. It just had this feel to it. And now that I'm done reading this book I feel like I've just finished this long journey. But only to find out that this book has a sequel and so the ending was very sudden leaving me with a thirst to read the next book.

This books is great! I recommend it to all. Older readers pref
Leah Lindeman
Apr 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Ishamel, by E.D.E.N. Southworth, tells the story of a boy who rises out of poverty with the help of his loyal friends and his own noble but human character. Set in the late 1800s, it beautifully depicts the life and society of the time. The plot is woven together with intriguing events that hold one's attention to the very end. It is the pinnacle of English literature, apart from the Bible. One can clearly see how wisdom and honour grace the life of the individual who exercises and promotes the ...more
Aug 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book about the life of a boy from birth to early adult. The book goes to exhausting measure to demonstrate the fortitude of character of this young, impoverished boy though and through. The book is very timeless for having been written in 1876. This book has inspired me and I am looking forward to the sequel; Self-Raised.

I look forward, also, to sharing this classic with my children.
May 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: jane austen fans
A wonderfully captivating story that will make you want more. It is filled with amazing conviction, love, passion, selflessness, and sheer determination. The story tells of Ishmael Worth's life, humble yet unfortunate beginnings. and incredible faith in the Lord, and how it helps sustain him through his various trials and tribulations. A must-read that will make you cry, smile, and root for the underdog and wronged.
Luc Ceci
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books, including fiction and non-fiction. As a young man, Ismael's story of hard work leading to success is truly inspiring. This book takes readers back to a different time where they can imagine the lives of those in early America. Southworth makes one feel the plight of the young boy so that his success is all the more joyful for the reader. Furthemore, the sequel to this book, Self Raised, is equally as good and a must read after finishing Ishmael.
Leslie Toms
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
E.D.E.N Southworth is a master-craftsman when it comes to writing, as is seen in Ishmael which follows the life of Ishmael Worth, a child of a seemingly disgraceful birth yet through hard work and Heaven's Plans rises to fame in Washington's political circles. He is one of the most inspiring characters ever created.

Though it did take me some time to get into the book, once I was hooked - it was hook, line, and sinker. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Dec 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book kept me hooked! What could happen next??! It's about a boy who is born poor, his mother is dead and he doesn't know his father. He works hard and gains respect and trust as he grows. He trusts God, and God makes him prosper. You must have the sequal "Self-Raised" nearby to finish the story of "Ishmael"!
Feb 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: homeschoolers, someone seeking uplifting literature
I loved this book! I found myself looking forward to my reading time everyday so I could get back to it. Ishmael's pure, noble spirit in spite of deprivation and condemnation is uplifting and inspiring.This is an excellent book for teens and adults. It wouldn't suit as a read-aloud for children because the content requires greater experience to digest.
What a fun find! I was lucky enough to borrow one of the original books in print so it had fun yellowing pages and old-book-smell. It reads like a Jane Austen, but has even more morals and is easier to read(imo.) I love these period-piece stories!
Chantal Barlow
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book! It has the romance and a bit of adventure entwined into a story about growing up and maturing! Overall very impressive, well written and a beautiful story! Actually a book that I might want to read more than once. ;)
Dec 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2009
Quite melodramatic, in the style of Victorian it just me, or are American authors more melodramatic than British ones? This is the story of a boy born in poverty who by good character and general exemplary-ness makes his way in the world.
Becky Cutrell
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Is Ishmael Worth not the type of man every parent wishes for their daughter?! I had started this book last year and put it down because it was a little slow to start; I am so glad I picked it back up. I loved EDEN Southwell's writing and this beautiful story. I cannot wait to read the sequel.
Feb 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I really loved this book. It had me captivated from the very beginning, much like The Hidden Hand from the same author. It's a love story, a mystery, a tale of inspiration and encouragement. I was very happy that there was a sequel!
Sep 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing! I couldn't put it down. Sadly I didn't realize there is a sequel, and had to wait almost a month! I would highly recommend this book, it has a very good story/plot. The writing is excellent, and pulls you into the story.
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Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte (aka "E.D.E.N.") Southworth was an American writer of more than 60 novels in the latter part of the 19th century. She was probably the most widely read author of that era.

Some of her earliest works appeared in The National Era, the newspaper that printed Uncle Tom's Cabin. Like her friend Harriet Beecher Stowe, she was a supporter of social change and women's rights. Her
More about E.D.E.N. Southworth

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“Big streams from little fountains flow. Great oaks from little acorns grow;” 0 likes
“I begin to think a body may get any reasonable thing in this world if they will only try hard enough for it!” 0 likes
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