Y U No Finish: Albion’s Seed

Albion’s Seed:  Four British Folkways In America, by David Hackett Fischer

I really wanted to finish this book.  If this had been a book in my own private collection, it would have been finished at some point, and I may add it to my own collection and work with the text however long it takes.  For the moment, though, I must return this book to the library as I have no more renewals left and some five to six hundred pages of this book left to read.  My not finishing this book [1] had nothing to do with the book being boring or infuriating, it was simply too long for me to devote enough time to finish it given my traveling around and my fairly busy schedule.  If this book had been a smaller four volume set that talked about each pathway along with introductory material setting the context for comparison, I would have finished this book within a week, but the massive size of this tome was simply too much to be taken, and so I must regretfullyh take this one back to the library and let someone else read it, or tackle it little by little another time.

I think it is worthwhile, though, to state that this book is an interesting one about a subject that greatly interests me [2].  This book takes about 900 pages or so to discuss the four pathways from the British isles to the North American colonies, each of which brought their own suite of folk traditions:  East Anglia to Massachusetts, the South of England to Virginia, the North Midlands to the Middle Atlantic colonies on the Delaware, and the Borderlands to the backcountry.  Each of these large chapters includes an extensive treatment of what the author considers to be folkways:  speech ways, building ways, family ways, marriage ways, gender ways, sex ways, child-rearing ways, naming ways, age ways, death ways, religious ways, magic ways, learning ways, food ways, dress ways, sport ways, work ways, time ways, wealth ways, rank ways, social ways, order ways, power waves, and freedom ways.  Make no mistake, that is a lot of ways that this book deals with, and while the results can be somewhat uncomfortable the author manages to combine detailed quantitative and qualitative analysis of the materials.  It’s a great book about its subject, it’s just too long for someone to read when they are on a pace of trying to read two books a day.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/04/29/y-u-no-finish-fear-not/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/04/29/y-u-no-finish-the-myth-of-male-power/

[2] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/10/05/book-review-american-nations/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/05/11/book-review-to-begin-the-world-anew/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/05/11/book-review-the-barbarous-years/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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