World of Trouble A Philadelphia Quaker Family’s Journey through the American Revolution Richard Godbeer

The Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-Century Culture and History
Publication date:
14 Jan 2020
Yale University Press
480 pages: 235 x 156mm
17 b-w illus.


An intimate account of the American Revolution as seen through the eyes of a Quaker pacifist couple living in Philadelphia

Historian Richard Godbeer presents a richly layered and intimate account of the American Revolution as experienced by a Philadelphia Quaker couple, Elizabeth Drinker and the merchant Henry Drinker, who barely survived the unique perils that Quakers faced during that conflict. Spanning a half-century before, during, and after the war, this gripping narrative illuminates the Revolution’s darker side as pacifist Quakers were vilified, threatened, and in some cases killed as alleged enemies of the revolutionary cause. Amid chaos and danger, the Drinkers tried as best they could to keep their family and faith intact.
Through one couple’s story, Godbeer opens a window onto a uniquely turbulent period of American history, uncovers the domestic, social, and religious lives of Quakers in the late eighteenth century, and situates their experience in the context of transatlantic culture and trade. A master storyteller takes his readers on a moving journey they will never forget.

Richard Godbeer is professor of history and founding director of the Humanities Research Center at Virginia Commonwealth University. A leading scholar of early American history, his previous books include Sexual Revolution in Early America and Escaping Salem.

“Meticulously researched, beautifully written, and a true pleasure to read.”—Sarah Crabtree, San Francisco State University

“In this magnificent dual biography, Richard Godbeer brings us to the hearth of Quakers Elizabeth and Henry Drinker, offering an intimate and beautifully textured account of the lives of these religious and political dissenters during the American Revolution. In Godbeer’s hands, their often-heartrending story is also quintessentially American.”—Jane E. Calvert, University of Kentucky