Monday, August 18, 2014

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

Anne Hutchinson was accused of heresy and sedition by forty male judges of the Massachusetts general court in 1638. She was banished from the colony for behaving in an uncomely way for one of her sex. Anne defended herself well, but it was not enough to convince them. She was a problem for the Puritans, as she advocated for women's rights, freedom to meet and discuss issues, and for religious freedom. She is an important early figure for these movements in America.

The book begins with her trial, and then returns to her early life to help the reader understand how Anne developed the ideas that would later get her into trouble. We learn details about her family and her marriage. The goal of the author(who is one of Anne Hutchinson's descendants) was to portray her not as a raging feminist, religious fanatic, or a woman making trouble. But to bring understanding to the different roles Anne had, and the complexity of this woman. LaPlante certainly provided more information about Anne. I did like learning more about her life, and what motivated her to stand up to the authorities.

I did think the information could have been presented in a clearer way. Some of the details and arguments were repeated. I usually like having access to the sources an author uses, but there were copious amounts of theological arguments, trial records, and personal correspondence that were not broken down into what was necessary for the understanding of the reader. It could make it difficult to follow at some points. I liked learning more about Anne Hutchinson and the time period. I would have liked the book more if it had been presented a little differently.

If you are really interested in Anne Hutchinson I would recommend trying this book. If you have not read anything else about her, I would try reading a different book.

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