Mary Jemison described her fascinating life to Dr. James Seaver, who interviewed her in 1823 when she was 80. Seaver's original notes have been lost, but the editors have used surviving editions of his book to present her story in her own words. The third child of Thomas and Jane Jemison, Mary was born in 1743. Her immigrant Irish family cleared a farm on the western frontier of Pennsylvania and lived there peacefully until the start of the French and Indian War. In 1755, a raiding party of Indians and Frenchmen attacked the Jemison farm. Mary's family was massacred, but she was spared and given to a family of Seneca Indians, who accepted her as one of their own. Although Mary never forgot her parents and siblings, she soon came to love her adopted family, choosing to remain with the Indians even when she had the opportunity to escape. She married twice, had 8 children and lived to see 39 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren before dying on a reservation in 1833. Beautifully detailed color illustrations help bring Mary's dramatic story to life. Text boxes containing relevant historical and cultural information. A glossary and a suggested reading list are also included. This book is part of the "In My Own Words" series. 2001, Benchmark Books, $33.75. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Joyce Schwartz
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-During the 19th century, people enjoyed reading published diaries of travelers, adventurers, gunfighters, and others. These first-person accounts provided fascinating information about historical events, semi-exotic places, and day-to-day living conditions. The Roops have taken three of these accounts and edited them for a new generation of readers. Each title contains the most interesting and informative segments from the original piece. Highlighted, unfamiliar words are defined in the margins, and sidebars and boxed sections contain additional background material on people, places, and events. All include color illustrations and maps. These are uniformly good titles, especially appealing in their immediacy. Leeper's diary is filled with details about the hardships of getting to California and the disappointment of not finding a fortune once there; Martin's diary describes the years he was enlisted as a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Young Jemison recounts events from her life before and after she was captured and adopted by members of the Seneca tribe. The Roops have "here and there-revised a sentence in order to make its meaning clear to the modern reader" and the resulting texts are polished, readable, and reliable.-Dona J. Helmer, College Gate School Library, Anchorage, AK Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.