Trials of the Earth

Trials of the Earth

The True Story of A Pioneer Woman

Book - 2016
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The astonishing first-person account of Mississippi pioneer woman struggling to survive, protect her family and make a home in the early American South

Near the end of her life, Mary Mann Hamilton (1866 - c.1936) began recording her experiences in the backwoods of the Mississippi Delta. The result is this astonishing first-person account of a pioneer woman who braved grueling work, profound tragedy, and a pitiless wilderness (she and her family faced floods, tornadoes, fires, bears, panthers, and snakes) to protect her home in the early American South.

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 this irreplaceable piece of American history. Written in spare, rich prose, Trials of the Earth is a precious record of one woman's extraordinary endurance and courage that will resonate with readers of history and fiction alike.
Publisher: New York :, Little, Brown and Company,, 2016
Edition: First Little, Brown and Company edition
Copyright Date: ♭2012
ISBN: 9780316341394
Characteristics: 318 pages


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Dec 18, 2016

Since it came so well reviewed I really tried to like it. I really tried to read it. Perhaps if she had not recorded nearly every second of every minute of her life I might have been able to. But she did, and I just couldn't.

Aug 25, 2016

This is not a diary, but the story of her life as she remembered it when she was elderly. Her detailed memories share a gift that she wanted documented for her descendants. Mary Mann Hamilton worked incredibly hard, with very little reward, and was often pregnant and/or had very young children to attend to at the same time. Her attitudes regarding the weakness of women, including herself, reflects the current attitudes of the time. She slaved under terrible circumstances, saved every penny she could, and watched her husband disappear for days at a time, often squandering her hard earned money. In the rare occasion she questioned him, he used his role as husband to quiet her, and she not only accepted it, but saw it as a sign of his strength. Like the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, this book represents a documentation of an American world long gone. Read it if you are interested in the history of American culture, information about American expansion, or in details about how pioneer settlers lived.

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