Trials of the Earth

  • by Mary Mann Hamilton
  • Narrated by Barbara Benjamin Creel
  • 10 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


What the Critics Say

"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)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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!

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- Fantasy Chick

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.
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- Christine "Books, gardening, cooking, spaceships!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-12-2016
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio