• World of Trouble: A Philadelphia Quaker Family's Journey through the American Revolution

  • The Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-Century Culture and History
  • By: Richard Godbeer
  • Narrated by: Charles Henderson Norman
  • Length: 16 hrs and 21 mins
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An intimate account of the American Revolution as seen through the eyes of a Quaker pacifist couple living in Philadelphia.

Historian Richard Godbeer presents a richly layered and intimate account of the American Revolution as experienced by a Philadelphia Quaker couple, Elizabeth Drinker and the merchant Henry Drinker, who barely survived the unique perils that Quakers faced during that conflict. Spanning a half-century before, during, and after the war, this gripping narrative illuminates the Revolution’s darker side as patriots vilified, threatened, and in some cases killed pacifist Quakers as alleged enemies of the revolutionary cause. Amid chaos and danger, the Drinkers tried as best they could to keep their family and faith intact.

Through one couple’s story, Godbeer opens a window on a uniquely turbulent period of American history, uncovers the domestic, social, and religious lives of Quakers in the late eighteenth century, and situates their experience in the context of transatlantic culture and trade. A master storyteller takes his listeners on a moving journey they will never forget.

The book is published by Yale University Press. The audiobook is published by University Press Audiobooks.

©2019 Richard Godbeer (P)2020 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

“Meticulously researched, beautifully written, and a true pleasure to read.” (Sarah Crabtree, San Francisco State University

“Offering an intimate and beautifully textured account of the lives of religious and political dissenters during the American Revolution.” (Jane E. Calvert, University of Kentucky)

What listeners say about World of Trouble: A Philadelphia Quaker Family's Journey through the American Revolution

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Keen to listen to all but narration is hindering

This is the first book i have read/listened to by this author. So far I’ve found the content interesting. I want to listen to all of it and I am curious to hear the information presented, but I found the narration made it difficult for me to really focus on what was being said. I’m afraid I only got 6 hours in before I had to pause. I generally listen to a book without pausing much but I’ll have to come back to this one in smaller bits. This is the first book I have listened to by this narrator ( Charles Henderson Norman ). His narration style has the sentences kind of running together without much of a feeling of a pause between. This made the listen a bit awkward. I prefer to speed up my listening and his pacing needed it, but the lack of pauses between sentences made me feel out of breath listening. It was harder to assimilate the information being presented as well. There are no explicit sex scenes, excessive violence or swearing.??. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and voluntarily left this unbiased review. Please feel free to comment on whether you found my review helpful.

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Fascinating

I received this book for free. I am voluntarily posting this review and any opinions expressed herein are my own. This is a fascinating account of a Quaker couple, Henry and Elizabeth Drinker, who lived through the Revolutionary War and covers their lives from the period just prior to their marriage to their deaths. While the book covers the Revolutionary War, it provides insight to so much more. As the Drinkers came from money, there are discussions related to servants, to slavery, to women, to housing, to children, etc. While some of the Drinker's concerns about their family are still relatable today and other opinions are certainly not. Nevertheless, this is a fascinating and well-researched look into the lives and concerns of people who lived through the founding of the United States. The narrator, Charles Henderson Norman, did a good job - his narration was clear and pace was good.

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Fantastic research!

historical-places-events, historical-research, history, American Rev War, Quaker, family, friendship Who knew? This book is an assimilation of nearly fifty years of diaries and correspondence by a Quaker couple in Philadelphia from before the beginning of hostilities until 1807. They came from money and continued in that mien although he endured imprisonment for perceived treason due to his refusal to join into combat because of his faith. This is a social history of the time as well as the personal highs and lows in a time of armed conflict on home soil. The book is exceptionally well done with the seamless insertion of known facts within the timeline as well as focusing the multitude of documents into a reasonably sized tome while not sounding like a bland doctoral thesis. I really enjoyed it! Charles Henderson Norman gives a nice, dispassionate rendering in narrating this very long book! Disclaimer: our family spent a number of years with The Northwest Territory Alliance re-enacting the American Revolutionary War and also admired General Nathanael Greene, a Quaker. I won this remarkable audio in a giveaway!

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Revealing look at a family during the Revolution

I am a historian and history teacher. I specialize in early American history and the Revolutionary era. I have read countless books on the subject. There are tons of books about the American Revolution. Some of them focus on the people whose lives were impacted by it. But very few of them examine the lives of a single family. And as far as I know, this is the only one that focuses on the often overlooked people who chose not to support either side in the Revolution. Henry and Elizabeth Drinker were Quakers in Philadelphia. When the War for Independence broke out, they held to their pacifist beliefs and became conscientious objectors. They were subjected to harassment from both sides, but far worse from the Patriots. Henry spent a year imprisoned in western Virginia among other indignities. Still they persevered and, at war's end, they were able to rebuild their lives in the new nation. This book is incredibly well researched, with the the diary of Elizabeth Drinker providing an enormous amount of insight into the thoughts and feelings of the Drinker family. Getting to see the Revolution play out from someone trapped between the two opposing forces is a perspective that is not often found in historiography of the Revolution. The author does not lionize his subject either. There is plenty to criticize as well as praise in the behavior of the Drinker family. I found the chapter on servants in the Drinker household, in particular, illuminated Elizabeth's more negative characteristics. The narrator provides a clear, smooth, and charming delivery of the text. It feels to me more like he is telling me a story rather than reading a book to me. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-05-20

Detailed as few other books

The level of detail about the Drinker family of Philadelphia is impressing. In this book, one is given a unique insight into family life, trading, slavery, politics and religion at the time, and I can highly recommend the book. However, the American accent of the narrator is rather intense, and could preferably have been made more neutral for a wider audience.

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  • Jonathan
  • 05-19-20

History from an unusual perspective

I received a review copy of this book. It presents the revolutionary war from the perspective of an ordinary, albeit relatively wealthy, Quaker family, focusing on the events as they impacted their daily lives. It provides a fascinating perspective of a major historical period and the impact of those on the ground. The family themselves were relatively unusual for the period in that they were not involved in the fighting itself, being conscientious objectors, something which still impacted the family greatly. The focus on the perspective of this family humanises the events, and by the end of the book you feel for the struggles the family have gone through.