Listen up! Historiann on Radio Boston today, 3:40 EDT

Historiann and The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright (Yale University Press, 2016)

Historiann and The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright (Yale University Press, 2016)

Bostonians–and anyone else with an internet connection–listen up: I’ll be on WBUR’s Radio Boston today at 3:40 p.m. Eastern time to talk about my latest book, The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright.  I’m thrilled!  (And I’ll post a link to the interview here once it’s up on the web.)

Now, I have to drive to Boulder to get wired up at the studio there.  As they say, I’ve got a face for radio!

Teaser Tuesday: What’s for breakfast in early New England?

Yale University Press. 2016

Yale University Press. 2016

Readers of my book in my book, The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright might well wonder:  is Ann Little a huge glutton?  Or was it just too close to lunchtime when she wrote some of these chapters?  To answer your questions:  yes, and almost certainly!  What’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? are questions on my mind every day, so I thought it would be an interesting question to answer when writing about Anglo-Americans, Native Americans, and French Canadians alike.

The answer to that question–what’s for dinner?–was also an interesting way to explore some of the differences as well as some significant similarities among the peoples of the northeastern borderlands.  As it turns out, the answer to that question was a lot more similar when comparing early New England and Wabanaki communities; when Esther moved into the Governor’s mansion, the Château Saint-Louis, in Québec, that’s when her diet took a gratifyingly rich and nutritious swerve, one that was for the most part sustained inside the walls of the Ursuline convent.  Future Teaser Tuesdays will explore the what’s for dinner? and the what’s for supper? questions in those locations.

My excerpt today is once again from chapter one, which focuses on Esther’s life from birth to her capture at age seven.  In addition to answering the question what’s for breakfast?, it also tells you a little bit about who made that breakfast and did the other work around the household, so as to give some insight into the division of labor in an Anglo-American family.  (FYI, the Hannah I write about here is Esther’s elder sister by two years.  I also introduce you to some other family members in this chapter, but their relationship to her is clearer in this excerpt.) Continue reading

The Human Stain pollutes us all

Who ever would have predicted that it was a bad idea to nominate a Human Stain for president?  Who indeed. As many in my Twitter timeline have pointed out: only every woman you know.

Many people are noting that the Human Stain has made insults and outrageously offensive comments about people who are ethnically and religiously different from him and his base.  Jeffrey Goldberg tweeted last night, “My record of sexually harassing women is a distraction from the real issue, which is my record of racism and xenopobia.”  It’s funny because it’s true!  But here’s why I think the offensive remarks caught on tape are a little different: Continue reading

Teaser Tuesday: What was childhood like in an Anglo-American garrison?

Yale University Press. 2016

Yale University Press. 2016

It’s back–Teaser Tuesday, in which I offer you a little flava of what you might find in my book, The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright.  Today I give you a little hint from chapter one, in which I write about Esther’s life from birth up to age seven, when she’s taken captive in a Wabanaki raid on her hometown of Wells, Maine.

One of the most exciting developments in history lately is the emergence of age as a category of analysis.  I had a lot of fun thinking about the ways in which age might have shaped Esther’s experience of the different worlds in which she lived–in an Anglo-American frontier town, in Wabanaki mission towns, and then in Québec as a student in the Ursuline convent school, where she then remained as a nun for the rest of her life.

Lots more, and even a very creepy doll, after the jump!

Continue reading

Samantha Bee on Monday’s debate: “Save us from fascism but, like, don’t be a bitch about it.”


On her show Wednesday night, Samantha Bee summed up the expectations of Clinton: “Be perfect but not too perfect. Save us from fascism but, like, don’t be a bitch about it.” In comparison, Bee said, “No one was suggesting superficial changes for Trump — like try wearing a suit that actually fits or embrace your baldness proudly or don’t snort your way through the debate like Jean-Pierre’s prized truffle pig.”

.       .       .       .       .

“Look, Hillary Clinton is never going to smile naturally enough for you,” Bee said. “She’s never going to be a thrilling speaker. Her oratory is always going to remind you a little of your least favorite history teacher’s lecture about the cotton gin. She’s never going to make you love her. In fact, she’d probably be offended if you tried; she has grandchildren for that.”

Bee added, “But we don’t need her to be warm and vulnerable. It turns out what America really needs Hillary Clinton to be, she is — namely, one of the only people in the whole god damn country who’s not afraid of a bully.”

Let’s go to the tape: Continue reading