The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in World History

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Anchor Books, 2008 - History - 361 pages
In this remarkable reconstruction of an eighteenth-century woman's extraordinary and turbulent life, historian Linda Colley not only tells the story of Elizabeth Marsh, one of the most distinctive travelers of her time, but also opens a window onto a radically transforming world.Marsh was conceived in Jamaica, lived in London, Gibraltar, and Menorca, visited the Cape of Africa and Rio de Janeiro, explored eastern and southern India, and was held captive at the court of the sultan of Morocco. She was involved in land speculation in Florida and in international smuggling, and was caught up in three different slave systems. She was also a part of far larger histories. Marsh's lifetime saw new connections being forged across nations, continents, and oceans by war, empire, trade, navies, slavery, and print, and these developments shaped and distorted her own progress and the lives of those close to her. Colley brilliantly weaves together the personal and the epic in this compelling story of a woman in world history.

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User Review  - JBD1 -

A microhistorical biography using Elizabeth Marsh as its main subject. Some of the tense shifts bugged me about the writing, but the deep research is much in evidence and the potential was there for an even more interesting book. Read full review

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User Review  - mbmackay - LibraryThing

This is a very good book in a genre that lacks a name - history told through relating the life or events surrounding an insignificant player. Vignette history? Anecdotal history? The author has done a ... Read full review


Out of the Caribbean
Taken to Africa Encountering Islam
Trading from London Looking to America
Writing and Migrating
An Asiatic Progress
World War and Family Revolutions
Ending and Continuing

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About the author (2008)

Linda Colley has taught at Cambridge, Yale, and the London School of Economics and is currently Shelby M. C. Davis Professor of History at Princeton University. Her book, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1837, was a New York Times Notable Book and won the Wolfson Prize. Professor Colley writes for British and American periodicals and newspapers, including The Guardian, The Times, The New York Times, The Times Literary Supplement, and The London Review of Books.

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