American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman Who Defied the Puritans

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Zondervan, Oct 19, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 336 pages

In 1637, Anne Hutchinson, a forty-six-year-old midwife who was pregnant with her sixteenth child, stood before forty male judges of the Massachusetts General Court, charged with heresy and sedition. In a time when women could not vote, hold public office, or teach outside the home, the charismatic Hutchinson wielded remarkable political power. Her unconventional ideas had attracted a following of prominent citizens eager for social reform. Hutchinson defended herself brilliantly, but the judges, faced with a perceived threat to public order, banished her for behaving in a manner "not comely for [her] sex."

Written by one of Hutchinson's direct descendants, American Jezebel brings both balance and perspective to Hutchinson's story. It captures this American heroine's life in all its complexity, presenting her not as a religious fanatic, a cardboard feminist, or a raging crank—as some have portrayed her—but as a flesh-and-blood wife, mother, theologian, and political leader. The book narrates her dramatic expulsion from Massachusetts, after which her judges, still threatened by her challenges, promptly built Harvard College to enforce religious and social orthodoxies—making her the mid-wife to the nation's first college. In exile, she settled Rhode Island, becoming the only woman ever to co-found an American colony.

The seeds of the American struggle for women's and human rights can be found in the story of this one woman's courageous life. American Jezebel illuminates the origins of our modern concepts of religious freedom, equal rights, and free speech, and showcases an extraordinary woman whose achievements are astonishing by the standards of any era.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rainpebble - LibraryThing

Read for R/L B/C. Although I did learn something it was full of boring repetitiveness throughout. I doubt that I even want to sit through the B/C meeting. Might go just for the coffee. ;-) American ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - karenmerguerian - LibraryThing

Anne Hutchinson was alternately respected and feared by the people and clergy of the 17th-century Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony. In this book, author (and Hutchinson descendent) Eve Laplante ... Read full review


Enemy of the State
This Impudent Puritan
A Masterpiece of Womans Wit
Strange Opinions
The End of All Controversy
As the Lily Among Thorns
From Boston to This Wilderness
A Final Act of Defiance
The Husband of Mistress Hutchinson
An Uneasy and Constant Watch
A Spirit of Delusion and Error
A Dangerous Instrument of the Devil
Exploring Anne Hutchinsons England and America

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About the author (2010)

Eve LaPlante, a sixth great-granddaughter of Samuel Sewall, is the author of two previous critically acclaimed books: American Jezebel, a biography of her ancestor Anne Hutchinson, and Seized, a narrative portrait of temporal lobe epilepsy. LaPlante has degrees from Princeton and Harvard and has written for The Atlantic, the New York Times, Ladies' Home Journal, and Boston magazine. She lives with her family in New England on land once owned by Judge Sewall.

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