Birgit's Reviews > Death by Petticoat: American History Myths Debunked

Death by Petticoat by Mary Miley Theobald
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Feb 24, 2012

it was ok
Read on February 24, 2012

Were long skirts and petticoats likely to catch fire thus being a leading cause of death in woman of Colonial America? In Death By Petticoat Mary Riley Theobald sets out to expose historical myths which are apparently still widely believed in today.
Presenting a wild collection of myths - all set in Colonial up to Victorian times on the North American continent - it was interesting to see how some of them are also familiar in European context while others have been completely new to me. While a quick and light read can be like a sweet treat every now and then, unfortunately this compilation lacks when it comes to really explaining where certain myths originate. Each of the myths is presented in a very brief format, often no more than a paragraph - often accompanied by a photo or illustration - consequently lacking details that would have been of interest, and even more so, neglecting thorough explanations in many cases. Even though the content of this book can be seen as history fun facts I would have expected a bit more substance.
I'd also like to add that as fascinating as some of the myths here are, quite a number made me wonder where on Earth the author dug them out as they are utterly ridiculous (on second thought, maybe I'm just too well educated). History buffs beware - this isn't the book for you!
In short: Nice little book for museum shops!
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Dani (new)

Dani Peloquin I can't agree with you more! I felt the exact same way and am very glad to find your like-minded review.


Jean Completely agree! The book led to an enjoyable hour of reading, but I certainly wouldn’t take it for gospel and would definitely need more information and citation to believe these myths have truly be debunked.


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