World of Trouble A Philadelphia Quaker Family’s Journey through the American Revolution Richard Godbeer

The Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-Century Culture and History
Publication date:
14 Jan 2020
Yale University Press
480 pages: 235 x 156 x 33mm
17 b-w illus.
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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 readers on a moving journey they will never forget.

Richard Godbeer is Director of the Hall Center for the Humanities and Charles W. Battey Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Kansas. He is a leading scholar of early American history whose previous books include Sexual Revolution in Early America and Escaping Salem.

"Describe[s] in illuminating detail the sometimes dramatic experiences of this Quaker family, living in a major colonial city during a time of rebellion and feeling incessant pressure to modify their religious convictions for the sake of the patriot cause. . . . Well-written and fascinating."—Robert K. Landers, Wall Street Journal

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

“In this magnificent dual biography, Richard Godbeer brings us to the hearth of Quakers Elizabeth and Henry Drinker, offering an intimate and beautifully textured account of the lives of these religious and political dissenters during the American Revolution. In Godbeer’s hands, their often-heartrending story is also quintessentially American.”—Jane E. Calvert, University of Kentucky

“With skill and insight Richard Godbeer's World of Trouble follows a Quaker family as it navigates Pennsylvania's chaotic path to independence and the turbulent decades that follow.”—Elaine Forman Crane, editor of The Diary of Elizabeth Drinker

World of Trouble reconstructs with impressive sensitivity the struggle of a Quaker family to maintain core religious principles during a time when American Revolutionaries regarded dissent as a threat to independence.”—T. H. Breen, author of The Will of the People: The Revolutionary Birth of America