Academic journal article The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

Colonial Chesapeake: New Perspectives

Academic journal article The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

Colonial Chesapeake: New Perspectives

Article excerpt

Colonial Chesapeake: New Perspectives * Edited by Debra Meyers and Melanie Perreault * Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2006 * xxiii, 284 pp. * $29.95

Historians Debra Meyers and Melanie Perreault, the editors of this collection of essays, assert that their volume is necessary because it reflects "a growing interest" among historians "in asking new questions about the social construction of race, class, and gender, while situating the Chesapeake in its Atlantic context" (p. xviii). In recent years, the editors continue, ethnohistorians, environmental historians, and scholars trained in literary analysis have brought their insights to the study of the region's history. Meyers and Perreault maintain that the essays in this collection show "that the multicultural Chesapeake created significant cultural, intellectual, and social norms that have shaped the diverse world of the American people" (p. xx).

There has been, of course, no shortage of new scholarship on the early Chesapeake, and a number of fine recent collections have presented new perspectives on the history of the region. This collection, however, disappoints on a number of levels. Some of the essays are useful and enlightening, like Sarah Hand Meacham's study of gender and the household economy and James Alsop's study of Royal Navy morbidity, while others are badly flawed, like Angelo Angelis's discussion of Bacon's Rebellion. …

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