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Publisher's Summary

In 1823, the History of the Celebrated Mrs. Ann Carson rattled Philadelphia society and became one of the most scandalous, and popular, memoirs of the age. This tale of a woman who tried to rescue her lover from the gallows and attempted to kidnap the governor of Pennsylvania tantalized its audience with illicit love, betrayal, and murder.
Carson's ghostwriter, Mary Clarke, was no less daring. Clarke pursued dangerous associations and wrote scandalous exposés based on her own and others' experiences. She immersed herself in the world of criminals and disreputable actors, using her acquaintance with this demimonde to shape a career as a sensationalist writer.
In Dangerous to Know, Susan Branson follows the fascinating lives of Ann Carson and Mary Clarke, offering an engaging study of gender and class in the early 19th century. According to Branson, episodes in both women's lives illustrate their struggles within a society that constrained women's activities and ambitions. She argues that both women simultaneously tried to conform to and manipulate the dominant sexual, economic, and social ideologies of the time. In their own lives and through their writing, the pair challenged conventions prescribed by these ideologies to further their own ends and redefine what was possible for women in early American public life.
©2008 University of Pennsylvania Press (P)2016 Redwood Audiobooks
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jan on 09-19-16

You owe it to yourself to read this one

This was originally a major thesis or a Publish or Perish piece. That does not diminish its relevance. While it is a biographical piece of two specific women in the Philadelphia, PA area in the early to mid 19th century, it is also a condemnation of the societal attitudes toward women at that time, and the injustices perpetrated upon them by the legal system.
Much of the (well documented) information is taken from "The history of the celebrated Mrs. Ann Carson, widow of the late unfortunate Lieutenant Richard Smyth : with a circumstantial account of her conspiracy against the late governor of Pennsylvania, Simon Snyder, and of her sufferings in the several prisons in that state : interspersed with anecdotes of characters now living" (1822), a text listed in WorldCat, which was co-written by the other woman of interest, Mrs Mary Clarke, ghostwriter of said book, as well as a publisher and journalist in her own right.
Each woman was victimized by society and the legal system, one turning to real criminal activities, the other trying to live more or less within the law. The publisher's blurb gives some useful clues, but this really needs to be read to truly appreciate what serious and appalling discrimination was perpetrated upon females in this time period.
This turned out to be a really compelling read for nearly anyone, whether a history buff, law enforcement, or legal studies, and the references do check out.
I'm prejudiced toward the audio rendering, partly because of physical issues, and mostly because Sally Martin is such an excellent narrator of academic works.

This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By cafurg on 11-15-16

Female Criminals in the 1800s

Would you consider the audio edition of Dangerous to Know to be better than the print version?

Some audio versions helps me picture in my mind the goings on while I listen. That's a good thing.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Dangerous to Know?

How differently women were treated then vs now. The usual differences.

Have you listened to any of Sally Martin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Sally Martin is a narrator that I have heard before, and would not hesitate to listen to again. Good narrator.

Any additional comments?

I was voluntarily provided this review copy via Audiobook Boom at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Norma Miles on 10-07-16

" ... the honourable protection of a husband."

Any additional comments?

Set in early nineteenth century Philadelphia, this is the biography of a biographer.and her subject and the mores of the society in which they lived. Both women found themselves in the unenviable position of being financially responsible for their respective households at a time when all domestic, monetary and po!ifical power was vested in men. Both found very different but unconventional routes to survival, their paths eventually bringing them together.
This is a fascinating story, well researched, which highlights just how much change has occurred iin less than 200 years. And one cannot he!p but pity the many poor souls who must have struggled in dire situations with little support, or even sympathy for their plight.
After a fairly jumbled Introduction, separate chapters are devoted to the ongoing experiences of the two main protagonists and their associates. Although not fast paced, as would be expected of an historical writing, their stories are compelling, even exciting.

Sally Martin read with understanding at a clear, medium pace which allows the listener to absorb the, often large, quantities of information given. Altogether, an interesting and insightful book into very different life expectations in an earlier age, told seamlessly through the medium of two real life adventure stories.

My thanks to the rights holder of Dangerous to Know for the complementary review copy which I received, via Audiobook Boom. As well as enjoying the story, i learned a lot from this book, in particular how fortunate we are today.

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5 out of 5 stars
By janien on 09-30-16

An exceptional social history read.

What did you like most about Dangerous to Know?

An account about women's lot in early 19th century Philidelphia. Focusses on the lives of two women who became friends and who were pretty imfamous both individually and together. Obviously well researched and beautifully narrated, I loved this audiobook from start to finish. The social history discussions around these women's lives could easily be transposed to other parts of the States or to the UK at that time. A fascinating account and thought provoking.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Dangerous to Know?

I was struck by what single women had to do to survive in a society where they had few rights and men had much control over property. Desperate needs cause for desperate measures. There was much too about the American judicial system at the time which was interesting.

What does Sally Martin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Sally Martin presented this book beautifully. She brings it to life, I think I wouldn't be quite so engaging reading from the written page. Sally reads it like she cares.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

I think the subtitle to this book would be a tad off putting whereas the title Dangerous to Know is fitting. It is a properly researched non fiction social history read which is however readily digested by the general reader. Don't let the long subtitle put you off when considering reading this, it's a great read!

Any additional comments?

This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBoom dot com. I loved it!

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