Everyday Life in Early America

David Freeman Hawke, Author HarperCollins Publishers $16.95 (195p) ISBN 978-0-06-015856-9
In this clearly written volume, Hawke provides enlightening and colorful descriptions of early Colonial Americans and debunks many widely held assumptions about 17th century settlers. He argues that most pioneers were not young and that their families weren't much larger than present-day households. In addition, he states that adults lived longer than has been believed and that most early settlers were artisans and craftsmen with little knowledge of farming, although the wilderness soon forced them to adapt. Hawke includes entertaining discussions of what the first white Americans ate (for example, raccoon was served in New York). He also discusses how colonial Americans were punished for crimes and how they treated enslaved blacks and indentured servants. This book is informative but could have been more deeply researched. (February)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1988
Release date: 02/01/1988
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