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The Reluctant Spiritualist: The Life of Maggie Fox

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  43 ratings  ·  5 reviews
* Nominated for a New York Historical Society Book Prize in American History * Honorable Mention in General Nonfiction from the American Society of Journalists and Authors Here is the first authoritative biography of Margaret Fox, the world-famous medium and cofounder of the Spiritualism movement that swept America in the mid-1800s. In 1848, fifteen-year-old Maggie and her ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published February 15th 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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El
We know about dance moms, or stage moms, helicopter parents. Before all of that there were the Fox sisters, Leah, Maggie, and Kate. The youngest two, Maggie and Kate, performed "rappings" as children, explaining to their oldest sister that they were communicating with spirits. Leah, possibly the original stage mom, took over from there, essentially taking their act on the road and making them continue this exercise for the public for years. And now we have people like John Edward and Sylvia Brow ...more
Elizabeth
Jun 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
I have to remind myself when reading certain books...that the author's didn't have a lot of surviving evidence and documentation to go off of when speculating about certain things. However, I would have liked more spoken about how the rappings were done "scientifically," "physically" if they were in fact a hoax. There seemed to be more information concentrated about the beginning of Maggie's life when I was really interested in why she exposed herself and then recanted.
Ken
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found this book very interesting on several fronts - first and foremost, from the perspective of what life was like for women in the mid-1800s. It was also fascinating to learn more about the spiritualist movement so popular in those times - the majority of which stemmed from the pranks of three young girls - Maggie and Katy Fox being the primary instigators. Maggie's story, and that of her sister Katy, are both heartbreaking. Manipulated and controlled by an older, overbearing sister, they we ...more
SoCal Heather
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Sympathetic portrait of one of the founders of modern spiritualism. I was kind of hoping for more of a judgmental TMZ style biography, but am happy with it's more balanced approach. It reminds me of how much I hate the Victorian eras attitudes. It was a little too long, I could have done with less of her romance with Kane but I guess that was the turning point of her life.
Very sad story of several lives that could have been lived better & happier.
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I read this for thesis research...it's a compelling story about a misunderstood young woman.
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Nancy Rubin Stuart is an award-winning author and journalist who specializes in women, biography and social history.

A graduate of Tufts University with a B.A. in English and an M.A.T. from Brown University, Nancy holds an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Mount Vernon College, now part of Georgetown University.

Nancy just won the 2009 Historic Winslow House Book Award on behalf of her lat
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