The English Woman in America

by Isabella Lucy Bird




In 1856, Isabella Bird published The Englishwoman in America, the first of what would be many books of her travels around the world. Adopting a tone of aloof bemusement, she describes in detail the hardships and annoyances of her travels by sea from England to Halifax, and on the road to Boston, Cincinnati, and Chicago. The book's 20 chapters are full of keenly observed and entertainingly told stories of pickpockets and luggage thieves, greasy hotels, and Americans who are very polite, but have the unfortunate habit of spitting on the floor. Bird admits to sharing the regrettably prejudiced view the English have of America, but nevertheless finds much to like and admire in this new country bustling with ethnically diverse immigrants full of energy and bravado. The Englishwoman in America is a wonderful travelogue that offers a lively and personal glimpse into mid-nineteenth-century America.… (more)


(14 ratings; 3.3)

User reviews

LibraryThing member bookswamp
Isabella Bird, born 1831, was in her twenties when she made a journey to Canada and the US _ this was her first journey to recuperate frompoor health (!), and she kept on travelling into her seventies. The travel diary is not only interesting in respect to the country in the 1850s, but also are her
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observations, often witty and with dry humor, as one would not expect from a 20 year old girl in those times.
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LibraryThing member HankIII
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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her parallels between the two countries and moralizing. It was written in the 1850s, but offers a glimpse into a time and place.
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