Between Poverty and the Pyre examines the history of the experience of widowhood across different cultures. It brings together a collection of essays by historians, anthropologists and philologists. The book shows how difficult it is to define the 'typical' widow, as the experiences of these women have differed so widely, not simply because of their different time periods and locations, but also becuase of their varying legal and religious status and economic conditions.
The study is diverse with subjects ranging from:
*Hindu wives who followed their husbands to the pyre
*widows who were burned as witches
*and widows who had to become prostitutes to stay alive.
The book also explores Jesus's interest in widows and the experience of some well-known widows, such as Mohammed's first wife.