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The Englishwoman in America

Isabella L. Bird

Book Overview: 

Isabella Bird travels abroad in Canada and the United States in the 1850s. As an Englishwoman and a lone female, she travels as far as Chicago, Prince Edward Island, and Cincinnati. Her observations on the trials and tribulations of the journeys are astute, if formed by her place and time in history. Adventures with pickpockets, omnibuses, cholera, and rat invested hotels deter her not.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .t before, sprang out of their berths and hastily huddled on their clothes; mothers caught hold of their infants with a convulsive grasp; some screamed, others sat down in apathy, while not a few addressed agonised supplications to that God, too often neglected in times of health and safety, to save them in their supposed extremity.

Crash went the lamp, which was suspended from the ceiling, as a huge wave struck the ship, making her reel and stagger, and shrieks of terror followed this event, which left us in almost total darkness. Rush came another heavy wave, sweeping up the saloon, carrying chairs and stools before it, and as rapidly retiring. The hall was full of men, clinging to the supports, each catching the infectious fear from his neighbour. Wave after wave now struck the ship. I heard the captain say the sea was making a clean breach over her, and order the deck-load overboard. Shortly after, the water, sweeping in from above, put out the engine-fires, and. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This was a really quite interesting read, although you have to brace yourself for the shocking feelings and opinions she has of the black Americans she encounters, despite the intellectual arguments she expounds against enslavement, a subject she returns to a number of times. Equally shocking are he

Pretty racist and outdated at times, but some wonderful language and hyperbole

Bird writes of the endless tide of Western emigration in America, fretted with the ceaseless cries of 'Go Ahead!' and 'move on!'

Fascinating account of a well-traveled Englishwoman's voyage to Canada and the United States in 1854.

This book reads like a Christmas family update letter from a distant relative. There are attempts at pithy observation and profundity that come off as sincere, but a bit banal. There are turns of phrase that I can imagine being spoken with that slight hint of self-assessed cleverness that some peopl

Did you ever wonder what life was like in America pre-civil war? Isabella Bird is a young Englishwoman traveling in the north-eastern United States and Canada in the 1850s. The book is packed with information - every detail of life, traveling, education, industry, medicine, shopping, entertainment,

The book offers the perspective of North America from--just what the titles says--an Englishwoman, and her observations are very interesting with its comparisons to her own Britain as well as revealing of her own background and class consciousness. After a while, it did become rather wearisome with

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