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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent insight into 17th Century life
This is one of the most readable and enlightening books that I have read about life in 17th Century England. Although this is a very comprehensive work it is very readable and, once begun, very difficult to put down. Although it primarily deals with the role of women in the 17th century, it balances this by putting that role in context with events taking place at the...
Published on 31 Jan 2001

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many names
The book is well written, but there are too many names easily forgotten by the reader. When you reach page 200 and a person is mentioned again - after 100 pages inbetween - I have forgotten all about her. Being a foreigner (with a rather good knowledge of English history), I may not be the perfect reader, since many details from this period are unknown to me. But it is...
Published 18 months ago by tricoteuse


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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent insight into 17th Century life, 31 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This is one of the most readable and enlightening books that I have read about life in 17th Century England. Although this is a very comprehensive work it is very readable and, once begun, very difficult to put down. Although it primarily deals with the role of women in the 17th century, it balances this by putting that role in context with events taking place at the time. What I found particularly facinating is that the book managed to give an in-depth look at life at all levels of society. This is a book that, having read it from start to finish, I still dip into from time to time because it is just so interesting.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read., 11 April 2002
By A Customer
You don't have to be a keen historian or a reader of "dry" books. This book is extremely well written and kept me really interested right to the end. It covers all aspects of women's role in society in the 17th century, from midwives, mistresses, whores, witches, middle-class wives and poor fishwives and deals with each backing up points of view with short written quotations. In fact it encouraged me to buy Samuel Pepys diary (you have to read it to believe it)!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable compendium of seventeenth century women's lives, 25 July 2011
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Like Fraser's other historical books this is written with integrity and panache. Rather than focusing on a single figure or narrative, however, she surveys women throughout the seventeenth century, organised by category such as marriage, widows, motherhood etc. There is nothing in here that is strictly new, but Fraser re-packages her information and delivers it in readable and accessible fashion.

My niggle is that her organising principle jumps around chronologically and so to some extent takes women out of their social and political context: the concept of the educated woman, for example, is quite different at the start of the seventeenth century when Elizabeth is still on the throne from what it becomes under the Restoration, say. It also assumes gender as a stable analytical category so that the fact of their biological sex is used to draw comparisons across social class, education, religion, politics etc. even though an elite, educated woman from a Protestant, monarchist family would have probably had more in common with an elite, educated, Protestant, monarchist man than a lower class, uneducated, Catholic, republican (for example) woman.

But this is a small flaw and certainly doesn't spoil the reader's pleasure. Fraser's writes history with a novelist's eye and pen - and if this is less self-consciously critical than a more scholarly work would be, it makes up for that in readability.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very readable, 11 Jun 2006
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I started reading Antonia Fraser's books after having read Gunpowder Plot. The Weaker Vessel is just as readble, and portrays the lives and characters of women from all walks of life, before, during and after the civil war. I think Ms Fraser is an amazing researcher, her books contain the most interesting facts all put together in pleasant prose which flows beautifully - so really it is like reading a novel rather than a work of pure fact (even though so many historical facts actually are included). Ms Fraser makes the female heroines of this novel come to life, for each lady discussed you feel genuine compassion, admiration, and sometimes disbelief at their feats of courage in the face of civil war. Included are excerpts from letters, diaries , etc which makes the account even more enjoyable. I'd recommend this to anyone interested in 17th century history or the history of women. One star less because I feel that the reader is not given an overall view of women in the 17th century - Antonia Fraser focuses on a handful of women, most of them extraordinarily courageous, but I do not think that the women in question were representative of the majority of women in Britain at the time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and readable, 16 May 2009
By 
S. Stiles "sshypno" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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There is a lot of information in this book with plenty of references for further study. However, it is also easy to read on a lighter level for a general understanding of the subject.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The feminist's dream, 26 Oct 2008
This book is fascinating. It is a really easy and highly informative read. I love the fact that it covers all levels of 17th century society and not just the upper classes. It focuses on the role of women in society at the time and provides a fantastic insight into the everyday life of women from all walks of life. The research behind the book is very impressive. A very interesting read for any history and/or feminist enthusiast.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars really good, 17 July 2000
By A Customer
A really good book. Authoritative, exhaustive historical and also entertaining. From the upper classes to dairy maids, scolds and "witches"; from the pain and perils of pregnancy to domestic violence; the ignorant and the (few) learned women: every 17th Cetury female has her place in this wonderful book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many names, 20 Feb 2013
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The book is well written, but there are too many names easily forgotten by the reader. When you reach page 200 and a person is mentioned again - after 100 pages inbetween - I have forgotten all about her. Being a foreigner (with a rather good knowledge of English history), I may not be the perfect reader, since many details from this period are unknown to me. But it is important to read about women in history, since they tend to be forgotten. In this manner the book serves its purpose.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good condition, 12 Jun 2012
By 
Aoife (Dublin, IRE) - See all my reviews
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The book came in very good condition and was well packaged. It's one of the harder Antonia Fraser books to read, along with Kings and Queens of England. It's very interesting though-you can it down for months at a time and then pick it back up. It is a compilation of accounts of different lives and situations.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Womens Lib isnt new!!, 30 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Weaker Vessel: Woman's Lot in Seventeenth-Century England (WOMEN IN HISTORY) (Kindle Edition)
Most people thought that women's lib started with the suffragettes in this book we learn that it started way back in the seventeenth century and the price was a lot higher to pay.
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