From the author of 'Britons', the story of the exceptional life of the intrepid Elizabeth Marsh - an extraordinary woman of her time who was caught up in trade, imperialism, war, exploration, migration, growing maritime reach, and new ideas. Linda Colley's new book breaks the boundaries between biography, family stories and global history. This ...
From the author of 'Britons', the story of the exceptional life of the intrepid Elizabeth Marsh - an extraordinary woman of her time who was caught up in trade, imperialism, war, exploration, migration, growing maritime reach, and new ideas. Linda Colley's new book breaks the boundaries between biography, family stories and global history. This is a book about a world in a life. An individual lost to history, Elizabeth Marsh (1735-85) travelled farther, and was more intimately affected by developments across the globe, than the vast majority of men. Conceived in Jamaica and possibly mixed-race, she was the first woman to publish in English on Morocco, and the first to carry out extensive overland explorations in eastern and southern India, journeying in each case in close companionship with an unmarried man. She spent time in some of the world's biggest ports and naval bases, Portsmouth, Menorca, Gibraltar, London, Rio de Janeiro, Calcutta and the Cape. She was damaged by the Seven Years War and the American Revolutionary War; and linked through her own migrations with voyages of circumnavigation, and as victim and owner, she was involved in three different systems of slavery. But hers is a broadly revealing, not simply an exceptional, life. Marsh's links to the Royal Navy, the East India Company, empire and international trade made these experiences possible. To this extent, her career illumines shifting patterns of British and Western power and overseas aggression. The swift onset of globalization occurring in her lifetime also ensured that her progress, relationships and beliefs were repeatedly shaped and deflected by people and events beyond Europe. While imperial players like Edmund Burke and Eyre Coote form a part of her story, so do African slave sailors, skilled Indian weavers and astronomers, ubiquitous Sephardi Jewish traders, and the great Moroccan Sultan, Sidi Muhammad, who schemed to entrap her. Many modern biographies remain constrained by a national framework, while global histories are generally impersonal. By contrast, in this dazzling and original book, Linda Colley moves repeatedly and questioningly between vast geo-political transformations and the intricate detail of individual lives. This is a global biography for our globalizing times.
Good. Gently read; tight binding. 3 page corners are creased and 16 pages have margin notes, brackets, and/or underlining. All other pages are clean and unmarked. Cover has tiny corner creases from bumping, light shelf scuffs, and a bookstore sticker... Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 361 p. Contains: Illustrations, black & white, Maps. Audience: General/trade.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-06-18 There were many ordeals-and adventures-in the tumultuous life of this emblematic 18th-century Englishwoman. At age 20 Marsh was captured by Barbary pirates and narrowly fended off the Moroccan sultan's attempts to induct her into his harem. She married a British merchant, went through both luxurious high living and humiliating bankruptcy, followed him to India, where they remade themselves as colonial grandees, then suffered another bankruptcy. (A further "ordeal" was snagging a husband for her under-dowried daughter.) Historian Colley (Captives: Britain, Empire and the World, 1600-1850) styles Marsh a "female Candide" batted about by world-historical forces. Shaped by the breakdown of barriers in this age of "proto-globalization" (Colley speculates excitedly, but without evidence, that Marsh was of mixed racial background), her life was opened up by the rise of the British Empire and disrupted by attendant upheavals like the Seven Years War and the American Revolution. Still, in Colley's account, she retains her own power: Marsh cannily leveraged family connections to the British naval bureaucracy to facilitate her voyaging, published a piquant memoir of Moroccan captivity and enjoyed a scandalous 18-month tour of India accompanied by a dashing, unmarried British officer. Colley makes of her story both an engaging biography and a deft, insightful social history. Photos. (Aug. 14) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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