In 1823, the History of the Celebrated Mrs. Ann Carson rattled Philadelphia society and became one of the most scandalous, and popular, memoirs of the age. This tale of a woman who tried to rescue her lover from the gallows and attempted to kidnap the governor of Pennsylvania tantalized its audience with illicit love, betrayal, and murder.
Carson's ghostwriter, Mary Clarke, was no less daring. Clarke pursued dangerous associations and wrote scandalous exposés based on her own and others' experiences. She immersed herself in the world of criminals and disreputable actors, using her acquaintance with this demimonde to shape a career as a sensationalist writer.
In Dangerous to Know, Susan Branson follows the fascinating lives of Ann Carson and Mary Clarke, offering an engaging study of gender and class in the early 19th century. According to Branson, episodes in both women's lives illustrate their struggles within a society that constrained women's activities and ambitions. She argues that both women simultaneously tried to conform to and manipulate the dominant sexual, economic, and social ideologies of the time. In their own lives and through their writing, the pair challenged conventions prescribed by these ideologies to further their own ends and redefine what was possible for women in early American public life.
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" ... the honourable protection of a husband."
Set in early nineteenth century Philadelphia, this is the biography of a biographer.and her subject and the mores of the society in which they lived. Both women found themselves in the unenviable position of being financially responsible for their respective households at a time when all domestic, monetary and po!ifical power was vested in men. Both found very different but unconventional routes to survival, their paths eventually bringing them together.
This is a fascinating story, well researched, which highlights just how much change has occurred iin less than 200 years. And one cannot he!p but pity the many poor souls who must have struggled in dire situations with little support, or even sympathy for their plight.
After a fairly jumbled Introduction, separate chapters are devoted to the ongoing experiences of the two main protagonists and their associates. Although not fast paced, as would be expected of an historical writing, their stories are compelling, even exciting.
Sally Martin read with understanding at a clear, medium pace which allows the listener to absorb the, often large, quantities of information given. Altogether, an interesting and insightful book into very different life expectations in an earlier age, told seamlessly through the medium of two real life adventure stories.
My thanks to the rights holder of Dangerous to Know for the complementary review copy which I received, via Audiobook Boom. As well as enjoying the story, i learned a lot from this book, in particular how fortunate we are today.
- Norma Miles
An exceptional social history read.
An account about women's lot in early 19th century Philidelphia. Focusses on the lives of two women who became friends and who were pretty imfamous both individually and together. Obviously well researched and beautifully narrated, I loved this audiobook from start to finish. The social history discussions around these women's lives could easily be transposed to other parts of the States or to the UK at that time. A fascinating account and thought provoking.
I was struck by what single women had to do to survive in a society where they had few rights and men had much control over property. Desperate needs cause for desperate measures. There was much too about the American judicial system at the time which was interesting.
Sally Martin presented this book beautifully. She brings it to life, I think I wouldn't be quite so engaging reading from the written page. Sally reads it like she cares.
I think the subtitle to this book would be a tad off putting whereas the title Dangerous to Know is fitting. It is a properly researched non fiction social history read which is however readily digested by the general reader. Don't let the long subtitle put you off when considering reading this, it's a great read!
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBoom dot com. I loved it!