Philip Greven: "Four Generations" Book Review by Peter Pen

Philip Greven: "Four Generations"
A review of Philip J. Greven's historical work, "Four Generations: Population, Land, and Family in Colonial Andover, Massachusetts."
# 113675 | 2,333 words | 1 source | MLA | 2009

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This paper looks at Philip J. Greven's methods and ideas about how history can be acquired in his academic book "Four Generations: Population, Land, and Family in Colonial Andover, Massachusetts." In this book Greven used information about families gathered from records of births, marriages and deaths, and about the land from town records, tax records, and deeds, to supplement his study of family life over four generations from 1650-1800. The writer gives a detailed description of the three parts of the book, explaining how Greven has achieved an understanding of early colonial life that was once thought lost for good. The paper concludes with a summary of what the writer has learned from Greven's book and its most important contributions to the study of this period.

From the Paper:

"Greven writes of Andover, Massachusetts from its founding in the middle 1600s to the American Revolution. He speaks mainly of marriage, and the passing down of land involved in doing so. He uses information gathered through birth and death records as well as tax records and other town documents. Through using information found in documents about the town he finds average birth rates, marriage ages and other rates and figures to determine the practices of each generation of Andover leading to an incredibly detailed account of 'Population, Land, and Family in Colonial Andover, Massachusetts.'"

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Greven, Philip J.. Four Generations: Population, Land, and Family in Colonial Andover, Massachusetts. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1970. (289 pages)

Cite this Book Review:

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Philip Greven: "Four Generations" (2009, April 24) Retrieved June 09, 2023, from

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