Tuesday, December 18

FEMALE TARS: A Book Review

A Short review by Tony Gerard-

"Female Tars- women aboard ship in the age of sail" by Suzanne J. Stark

This book basically deals with women aboard British naval ships (both in port and at sea) in three capacities 1) prostitutes 2) seamen's wives who were allowed on board and 3) women disguised as men and functioning as crewmen.

The prostitute section is just what one would expect- it really sucked to be a prostitute in 19th century English seaport. The wives section was enlightening for me. Apparently there were many more women aboard ship than I would have thought. The women disguised as men sections were also enlightening for me. While I knew about a couple of famous accounts, apparently there were more than just a few cases. The last chapter deals specifically with one such case. Mary Lacy, alias William Chandler, is an often overlooked account that the author had made a particular study of.  

An interesting read, but save it until after you've read "Jack Tar".

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