"Buying a Bride is a history book like few others, a carefully-documented critical analysis of mail-order marriages from the days of the Jamestown colony to modern times. . . . Zug persuasively and carefully demonstrates how throughout American history, conceptions of larger national imperatives, namely settlement of the frontier, marriage, and race deeply influenced American society's views of mail order brides. The changes have resulted in the radical transformation of the generally positive public opinion of such marital arrangements before the Civil War and increasingly negative views of the practice through to today. . . . From a feminist perspective, Zug concludes that, despite significant risks, mail-order marriages are typically beneficial and even liberating for women. Buying a Bride offers fresh new insights to anyone interested in love and marriage, race and immigration, and the fundamental transformation of American social life over the last 300 years."
—Kevin R. Johnson, UC Davis School of Law
"A lively and meticulously researched review mail-order brides’s varied experiences at different times and places. Zug’s compelling case for mail-order feminism shows the need for a more nuanced view of these women as agents rather than the two-dimensional view of them as helpless victims. Students will greatly enrich their understandings of marriage, these women, and the colonization of North America by reading Buying a Bride."
—Martha Ertman, Carole & Hanan Sibel Research Professor of Law, University of Maryland
“Mail-order brides have been welcomed, celebrated, stigmatized, and feared. With its long-term historical perspective, this important book uncovers the origins of changing public opinion while bringing into focus the autonomy that many women have sought and some women have achieved through migration and marriage.”
—Donna R. Gabaccia, University of Toronto Scarborough
"This provocative history of mail-order marriages challenges stereotypes about women who leave home to wed strangers. Arguing that our view of the practice is overly influenced by cases of trafficking, Zug shows us women who have seen it as an opportunity."
—The New Yorker
"Eye-opening and entertaining."
"[Buying a Bride] focuses on an area that most of us do not stop to explore in greater depth, and that exploration leads one to see the more nuanced faces of the issues."
—Manhattan Book Review
"[S]cholars have tended to view the mail-order marriages of the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries through the lens of today’s politics is a persuasive one. It is ironic perhaps, that it has taken a lawyer to remind historians about the dangers of viewing the past as if it were the present, simply dressed in funny clothes.”
—Times Literary Supplement
“Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries.”
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