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Harlots, Hussies, and Poor Unfortunate Women

Crime, Transportation, and the Servitude of Female Convicts, 1718-1783
Narrated by: Sally Martin
Categories: History, American
4.5 out of 5 stars

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In Harlots, Hussies, and Poor Unfortunate Women, Edith M. Ziegler recounts the history of British convict women involuntarily transported to Maryland in the 18th century.

Great Britain's forced transportation of convicts to colonial Australia is well known. Less widely known is Britain's earlier program of sending convicts - including women - to North America. Many of these women were assigned as servants in Maryland. Contemporary readers and scholars will be fascinated by Ziegler's explanation of how gender-influenced punishments were meted out to women and often ensnared them in Britain's system of convict labor.

Ziegler depicts the methods and operation of the convict trade and sale procedures in colonial markets. She describes the places where convict servants were deployed and highlights the roles these women played in colonial Maryland and their contributions to the region's society and economy. Ziegler's research also sheds light on escape attempts and the lives that awaited those who survived servitude.

Ziegler has masterfully researched the penumbra of associated documents and accounts to reconstruct the worlds of 18th-century Britain and colonial Maryland and the lives of these unwilling American settlers.

©2014 The University of Alabama Press (P)2015 Redwood Audiobooks
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5 out of 5 stars
By Jan on 01-08-15

What if criminal justice was unchanged since then?

Three disclaimers: 1. I totally geek the American Revolution, 2. I (and whole family) have been Rev War re-enacting for much longer than the war lasted, 3. I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review. Plus, I am female and have worked with the criminal justice system.
That being said, I feel that this is a wonderful academic thesis made real and comprehensible. It appears to be as well-researched as possible, and is presented in a logical, coherent manner. Many details are presented regarding the charges and lifestyles involved, as well as the privations thrust upon the women who were enslaved by the sentences they were given. Any comparison to today's criminal justice system is laughable. It is well worth the read for many of us.
Sally Martin gives an excellent performance as personable lecturer. Her rate of delivery easily allows for note-taking as well as intellectual absorption.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Deedra on 26-01-16

Harlots etc

This is a very interesting book about women and how they were treated concerning transportation,jail etc in the 1700's.I found it very interesting! Sally Martin narrates it beautifully!
This audiobook was provided to me at no cost for a fair and honest review

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5 out of 5 stars
By The Bookwyrm Speaks on 11-01-16

Interesting and well reasearched

This was a really interesting, telling the story of the treatment of female convicts transported to the British Colonies during the Colonial era. Well researched, it shows a lot of details, really illustrating how these poor women were abused and mistreated in a male dominated world. It really sheds light on a part of history that no one likes to talk about, especially considering the large number of women involved. Sally Martin's narration was very good, really moving the swtory along and never dragging it down with a monotone reading.

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4 out of 5 stars
By Mary on 08-09-15

Penal Colonization in America

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would to some one who is interested in history and also to educate one that not all slaves were black.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I guess my favorite character was the wig maker husband who tried to ensure that his pregnant wife who was guilty of a minor thief, would be housed more comfortably in a more sanitary area in the ship that transported her. The ship's captain took his money and then threw this man/s wife in with the rest of the criminals after he was at sea.

Which scene was your favorite?

When the above mentioned captain got court marshaled for his multiple wrongdoings. Although he was punished he got off far more lightly then the the transported criminals who had committed petty crimes. He should should of been transported for life!!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Criminal founding mothers.

Any additional comments?

A very interesting history of American transportation focusing in on transported petty criminal women. The part about the extra years of servitude if the indentured woman became pregnant, especially if the the father was black was quite interesting. At least a couple of extra years would be added to her indenturement and if the child was mixed raced then the child would automatically be indentured until his/her 31st birthday. So lets say if a black slave were to rape a white slave (err..indentured servant).then the resulting child would automatically be enslaved until the age of 31. Like wise if the master took unwelcome liberties with the indentured servant resulting in a pregnancy, the servant would be viewed as a Jezebel and her years of service would be extended.

“I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via AudiobookBlast dot come”

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4 out of 5 stars
By Christine N. Ethier on 02-08-15

Detailed look at little known aspect of history

Disclaimer: “I was provided this audio book at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via AudiobookBlast”

There is a tendency in America to forget about certain key aspects of our history. No, I am not just talking about those people who forget what the Confederate Flag stands for, but I am also talking about the history pre-Independence. At times, it seems as if Americans think the only country made up of transported criminals is Australia. They forget that criminals were transported here, to a lesser degree and under slightly different circumstances, but brought here against their will, with more hope than those take in the African slave trade.
Ziegler’s book is an attempt to put this to rights. It’s true that her book isn’t the first to focus on the topic, and her introduction points out several books that the reader can track down for more general information. The focus of the book, however, is on the women who were sentenced to labor in the Colonies, in particular Maryland, for a span of 7-14 years depending on the verdict.
What this means is a woman found guilty of a crime (usually it seems, though not always, robbery) would be transported to the colonies from England, where her contact (her labor) would be brought be a colonist. After the term was over, she could return home or wherever. If she got pregnant while under penalty, additional time was added as it was if she escaped. Such women would be put to work in the fields or the house, sometimes working side by side with slaves. Sometimes the women gave birth to children whose fathers were slaves (and what happened to these children seems to be all about original sin).
Because of the subject, there isn’t one single strand or story to follow. What Ziegler does instead is far more comprehensive. She starts with the situations that might have lead women to not only to be in court but also how the system worked (for instance, the time spent in jail waiting for transport to the colonies was not counted as part of the sentence). She compares various sentences. Then there is a discussion about transportation and arrival as well as about the work that the women were given. Ziegler than discusses escape.
Perhaps the most heartbreaking part is the section on what happens after the women served their sentences and, in some cases, returned home to families that were grown or husbands that had moved on (just as their male counterparts returned to wives that had moved on). In some cases, the women stayed in the colonies, sometimes due to children, sometimes not.
Overall, while detailing a variety of information and various stories, the book flows well and the writing is engaging.
Sally Martin’s reading reminds one of Wanda McCaddon. Martin’s voice is a perfect match to the subject matter. While some of the stories will make the reader and/or listener want to smack someone, Martin does not let anger or another overwhelmingly emotion into her reading. This enables the reader to actual take in the information. It really is a reading and not a lecture.

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3 out of 5 stars
By Katie on 02-08-15

Well researched, non-sensational, but a bit rough

As long as the subtitle of this book already is, it would have been accurate to include a few more words, those being "In the colony of Maryland."

That this book was well researched and written by a historian, rather than one dabbling in history, is quite evident. It is also completely lacking in sensationalism. Nothing is stated as fact that isn't supported by primary source material and the reader/listener is always informed of the primary source of information. These aspects of the book are traits that I much appreciate in a work of non-fiction. "Just the facts, ma'am." The product of that research is well presented in a well organized flow of information.

That said, had I not been obligated to write a review, having accepted a free copy for an unbiased review, the introductory chapter may have turned me off. The introductory chapter is poorly written/poorly edited. It gave me a very poor first impression. It is definitely not to the same standard as the rest of the book. The introductory chapter seems to have been a last minute and rushed addition. I don't know who thought that introductory chapter was necessary, but I found it completely redundant. If we are going to read (listen to) the book, we don't need a detail of everything we are going to read (listen) about, cataloged chapter by chapter. The chapter was as redundant as one particularly poor sentence in that chapter that included the phrase "such as, for example." Another poor example from that chapter is "committed crimes or otherwise broke the law." My high school composition teachers would have bled red over those sentences. The inclusion of this poorly edited and unnecessary chapter detracted from the book and I would encourage editors to leave it out of future editions. I would encourage readers/listeners to either skip the chapter or grit your teeth and get through it, because what follows is worthy of your reading/listening time.

I listened to the audio edition of this book. The narration style employed by reader Sally Martin for this production is well suited to the work with clear and precise enunciation, well paced delivery and an informative and authoritative tone.

I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via AudiobookBlast.

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4 out of 5 stars
By Frode on 30-07-15

Harlots, Hussies, and a good book!

Edith M. Ziegler made a good book here! Harlots, Hussies, and Poor Unfortunate Women: Crime, Transportation, and the Servitude of Female Convicts, 1718-1783 is a book about what it says it is about! Nothing more, but nothing less ether! 8 hrs and 7 mins about it too! It is academic, and i like that! So why 4 stars? I would say it is maybe just a topic that is not interesting for me, but no i found that interesting! I think maybe i wanted a more detailed book almost, but that is nitpicking! I like this book, i just don't love it, that is why it gets 4 out 5!

I know Sally Martin from Erotic Exchanges: The World of Elite Prostitution in Eighteenth-Century Paris. She reads that book good, here she does it again! She still reads the book a bit slow, so i guess that is her style, but i wanted it a bit faster this time around too. So maybe it is something wrong with me, but i have preferences like all other people i guess!

I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via AudiobookBlast dot com

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4 out of 5 stars
By Kingsley on 25-07-15

From a nation populated by convicts...

I probably come to this book with a bit of a different background to many. I'm from Australia. And as Vizzini points out in The Princess Bride, Australia is a nation populated by criminals. As a nation we were started and built as a convict colony. The history of transportation to Australia is well known here. We started around 1778, a convenient time because the recently declared USA had just closed its borders to the British convicts.

This book covers the topic of transportation from England, focusing predominately on women, to Maryland (and surrounding regions) in the 18th century. Built on research from court records, personal diaries and newspaper reports it paints a fairly complete picture of why they were send, how they were sent, what they did when they got here and how they were treated. And as a general rule: it isn't pretty.

This book is well researched (as are all university Press books I have listened to) and very interesting. I would recommend to anyone who is interested in the lesser known parts of US and world history.

Sally Martin does a good job with reading. Straight forward she is clear and enjoyable to listen to. More than happy to listen to other works she narrates.

This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of audiobookblast dot com.

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