Your audiobook is waiting…

Trials of the Earth

The True Story of a Pioneer Woman
Narrated by: Barbara Benjamin Creel
Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (238 ratings)
Regular price: $24.95
$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

The Powerful, Only Known First-Person Account of One Woman's Struggles and Triumphs Taming the Mississippi Delta

Near the end of her life, Mary Mann Hamilton (1866-c.1936) was encouraged to record her experiences as a female pioneer. The result is the only known firsthand account of a remarkable woman thrust into the center of taming the American South - surviving floods, tornadoes, and fires; facing bears, panthers, and snakes; managing a boardinghouse in Arkansas that was home to an eccentric group of settlers; and running a logging camp in Mississippi that blazed a trail for development in the Mississippi Delta. All this she tackled - and diligently wrote about in secrecy, in a diary that not even her family knew she kept - while caring for her children, several of whom didn't survive the perils of pioneer life. The extreme hard work and tragedy Hamilton faced are eclipsed only by her emotional and physical strength; her unwavering faith in her husband, Frank, a mysterious Englishman; and her tenacious sense of adventure.

An early draft of Trials of the Earth was submitted to a writers' competition sponsored by Little, Brown in 1933. It didn't win, and we almost lost the chance to bring this raw, vivid narrative to listeners. Eighty-three years later, in partnership with Mary Mann Hamilton's descendants, we're proud to share an irreplaceable piece of American history.

Conveyed in frank and expressive prose by a natural-born writer, and withheld for almost a lifetime, Trials of the Earth will resonate with listeners of history and fiction alike - an emotional testament to our ability to endure as well as the story of extraordinary love and the allure of pioneer life.

©2016 Mary Mann Hamilton (P)2016 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"A reminder of how punishing the physical struggle could be, and how unspeakably lonely a woman's life was when men were clearing the land." ( New York Times Book Review)
"To read Hamilton's autobiography is to experience an extraordinary life of courage and hardship.... Hamilton, a born storyteller, has written a rich, simple narrative; her personal strength is surpassed only by the strength of her writing abilities." ( Library Journal)

More from the same

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    147
  • 4 Stars
    64
  • 3 Stars
    16
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    4

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    141
  • 4 Stars
    38
  • 3 Stars
    20
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    6

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    136
  • 4 Stars
    49
  • 3 Stars
    18
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    6
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What a treasure!

To get a glimpse into late 19th century/early 20th c. life, first hand, from someone with such a detailed memory and rich story, truly is a treasure. Ms. Creel does a wonderful job reading. She makes it very easy to listen to. I will miss this book now that it's over!

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

An interesting recollection.

A fascinating story, just a little long, but filled with amazing history and harrowing, as well as delightful experiences. Ms. Benjamin-Creel's narration is excellent with each character's voice revealing of his or her nature, making each a believable person, and the story real.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This brought me back home! Excellent narration!

Where does Trials of the Earth rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Listening to this book took me back home to where I grew up in Mississippi. The main character portrays the strength and tenacity of a true southern woman. I felt like I was hearing my grandmother speak directly to me. Fantastic, authentic narration!

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Trials of the earth

I absolutely LOVED this book!Barbara Benjamin Creel is fabulous as the narrator.It made me fee like I was sitting at Marys feet listening to her reminisces!Her trials and losses make one feel blessed to live in this age and not hers.I was provided this book free by the author, narrator or publisher.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Ren
  • OMAHA, NEBRASKA, US
  • 10-31-17

Long and slow.

So many people have commented on this woman’s incredible devotion to her husband but no one has commented on the fact that her husband was a self centered jerk. The book was slow and boring. I tried to listen to it several times and couldn’t get into it. By then it was too late to return it.

34 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent!

Wow, this lady had stories to tell and sure knew how to tell them! The narration was the best match to story I've heard yet. Sometimes it's hard to tell whom should get the highest credit: the author or the narrator. This was one such example.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Nothing Too Fantastic

It’s a scope into the life of a family struggling to survive the harshness of early rural life in the American south, laced with several instances of racism, death, suffering, and happiness. Everything one would expect from that world. I struggled to finish it. The reading can get really annoying at times. Otherwise, it’s good storytelling. Would probably please most.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

What a great story!

An encouraging, heartbreaking and loving family who lived through tough times in the Mississippi Delta.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book! The narration is phenomenal!

Excellent book!
So visual, such a strong performance.
The narration is phenomenal! She deserves an award.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A very interesting story.

This story brings the high, and low notes of one strong, interesting woman to the listener. I winced at times at the language and sentiments, but it is history, warts and all.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • williams
  • 08-04-16

Engrossing

Engrossing story of a woman's life in the late 1800s. Well narrated excellent story. Like listening to someone tell their life stories