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Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands

Mary Seacole

Book Overview: 

Mary Seacole was born a free black woman in Jamaica of the early 19th century. In her long and varied life, she was to travel in Central America, Russia and Europe, find work as a inn-keeper and as a doctress during the Crimean War, and become a famed heroine, the author of her own biography, in Britain. As this autobiography shows, Mary Seacole had a sharp instinct for hypocrisy as well as a ripe taste for sarcasm. Frequently we see her joyfully rise to mock the limitations artificially imposed on her as a black woman. She emerges from her writings as an individual with a most un-Victorian zest for travel, adventure and independence.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .kety door of my little room could never be kept shut [Pg 35] for many minutes together. A visitor would open it silently, poke his long face in with an expression of sympathy that almost made me laugh in spite of my pain, draw it out again, between the narrowest possible opening, as if he were anxious to admit as little air as he could; while another would come in bodily, and after looking at me curiously and inquisitively, as he would eye a horse or nigger he had some thoughts of making a bid for, would help to carpet my room, with the result perhaps of his meditations, and saying, gravely, “Air you better, Aunty Seacole, now? Isn’t there a something we can du for you, ma’am?” would as gravely give place to another and another yet, until I was almost inclined to throw something at them, or call them bad names, like the Scotch king does the ghosts in the play.[A] But, fortunately, the attack was a very mild one, and by the next day all dang. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Why and how have I never heard of Mary Seacole?! She's awesome. Sure, I've heard of Florence Nightingale (nurse to the soldiers in the Crimean War). But it turns out that Mary Seacole (also a nurse but was refused hire by Nightingale) was better liked by the soldiers. And she was Creole! White hi...more

“Of course, had it not been for my old strong-mindedness (which has nothing to do with obstinacy, and is no way related to it—the best term I can think of to express it being ‘judicious decisiveness’), I should have given up the scheme a score of times in as many days …”

I wondered what adv...more

The first autobiography by a black woman in Britain, Wonderful Adventures was written out of desperation after Seacole's business ventures during the Crimean War left her broke. Yet I know of few authors who wouldn't give their eyeteeth to possess a voice like hers: bold, funny, frank. "Some people, indeed...more

I absolutely loved this book. Something about it reminded me of Moll Flanders, not the naughtiness or the debauchery, Seacole certainly wasn't guilty of either of those, but just a sense of mischievousness, of great warmth and humour. This whole book buzzed with life and joy, even in the most awf...more

SOMEONE GET LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA ON THE LINE, BECAUSE I'VE DISCOVERED AN AMAZING HISTORICAL FIGURE IN NEED OF A MUSICAL!

Excuse me for yelling, but truly guys, this incredible woman doesn't deserve to be forgotten like this. Because while Florence Nightingale is nowadays known as the classic examp...more

I picked this up for my Kindle for two reasons. The first is because it didn't cost my anything. The second because I actually knew who Mary Seacole was after reading an essay about her in either British Heritage or a British history magazine.

Mrs. Mary Seacole was first and foremost a lady. T...more

Mary Seacole was a Jamacian nurse whose extraordinary life combined her favorite things, travel and medicine. This autobiography tells us a little about her background and trips to England, but it mostly focuses on her time in a small town in Central America and then her work during the Crimean W...more

4.5/5

It's very hard to contest with a state of things if they've been made to seem that way for forever and a day. The nineteenth-century is case in point: white, white, white, with everyone become a history expert if you slightly beg to differ. There's also the matter of colonialism...more

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