Trials Of The Earth: The True Story of a Pioneer Woman (Paperback)Mary Mann Hamilton (author)
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Near the end of her life, Mary Mann Hamilton (1866 - c.1936) was encouraged to record her experiences as a female pioneer. The result is the only known firsthand account of a remarkable woman thrust into the center of taming the American South-surviving floods, tornadoes, and fires; facing bears, panthers, and snakes; managing a boardinghouse in Arkansas that was home to an eccentric group of settlers; and running a logging camp in Mississippi that blazed a trail for development in the Mississippi Delta. All this she tackled-and diligently wrote about in secrecy, in a diary that not even her family knew she kept-while caring for her children, several of whom didn't survive the perils of pioneer life. The extreme hard work and tragedy Hamilton faced are eclipsed only by her emotional and physical strength; her unwavering faith in her husband, Frank, a mysterious Englishman; and her tenacious sense of adventure.
An early draft of Trials of the Earth was submitted to a writers' competition sponsored by Little, Brown in 1933. It didn't win, and we almost lost the chance to bring this raw, vivid narrative to readers. Eighty-three years later, in partnership with Mary Mann Hamilton's descendants, we're proud to share an irreplaceable piece of American history.
Conveyed in frank and expressive prose by a natural-born writer, and withheld for almost a lifetime, Trials of the Earth will resonate with readers of history and fiction alike-an emotional testament to our ability to endure, as well as the story of extraordinary love and the allure of pioneer life.
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 296 g
Dimensions: 207 x 140 x 23 mm
Crystal Goldman, Library Journal
"It's the backstory that will first grab a reader, but it's Hamilton's gift for storytelling in her blunt voice that makes this memoir such a standout. . . . Beyond everything else, this memoir impresses on readers just how easy it was to vanish in an earlier America.... How fortunate that the manuscript of Trials of the Earth didn't meet that same fate."--Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air
"Magnificent. Told with precision and searing honesty, Hamilton's captivating and cinematic autobiography deserves to be a classic."--Ann Weisgarber, author of The Personal History of Rachel DuPree and The Promise
"A reminder of how punishing the physical struggle could be, and how unspeakably lonely a woman's life was when men were clearing the land."--Rosellen Brown, New York Times Book Review
"Draws the reader right into the hardscrabble minutiae of the daily struggle for survival on an untamed and unforgiving frontier.... Hamilton's rich personal tapestry is a testament to endurance and to the indomitable spirit of the often overlooked American pioneer woman."
--Margaret Flanagan, Booklist
"Hamilton's matter-of-factness wins you over almost immediately, and unexpectedly.... Most remarkably, this book somehow enables a reader not to feel abject guilt at complaining about the temperature of their latte, but only a genuine gratefulness and admiration for those who went before."--Kim Ode, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Much has been written about the bold, gritty women who helped settle the American West. Much less attention has been paid to the female pioneers who muscled their way into other unsettled regions during the late 1800s. Trials of the Earth...goes far in filling that gap.... [and] underscores the huge power of unvarnished storytelling.... This is an unblinking narration of a life hard-lived by a woman who never lost her strength, humor or morality."--Sharon Peters, USA Today (3/4 stars)
Best Books of 2016, The Chicago Tribune--
"A riveting and instructive read.... Hamilton is a natural-born storyteller.... [Her] first-person accounts are important testimonials about what used to be."--Melanie Kirkpatrick, Wall Street Journal
"Wherever there is men's work, you can bet women's work is happening invisibly in the background. Trials of the Earth is a firsthand account of this backbreaking labor.... It's impossible not to root for this woman."--Amy Gentry, Chicago Tribune
"This compelling, no-frills posthumous memoir...reveals the hidden nature of late 19th century American life.... Mary's unsentimental story crackles with personality, putting a face on the unsung, nameless tillers of the soil."--Publishers Weekly
"A unique story."
--Crystal Goldman, Library Journal
"Fast-paced, inspirational and fascinating.... Mary Mann Hamilton's life was an endurance test and Trials of the Earth is her remarkable story.... Modern women will marvel at Hamilton's grueling daily schedule.... There are valuable lessons to be gleaned from Hamilton's pioneer code of conduct."--Patricia Dawn Robertson, Toronto Star
One of the Best Books of the Year, The Chicago Tribune--
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