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Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War | [Nathaniel Philbrick]

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War

From the perilous ocean crossing to the shared bounty of the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrim settlement of New England has become enshrined as our most sacred national myth. Yet, as best-selling author Nathaniel Philbrick reveals in his spellbinding new book, the true story of the Pilgrims is much more than the well-known tale of piety and sacrifice; it is a 55-year epic that is at once tragic, heroic, exhilarating, and profound.
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Publisher's Summary

From the perilous ocean crossing to the shared bounty of the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrim settlement of New England has become enshrined as our most sacred national myth. Yet, as best-selling author Nathaniel Philbrick reveals in his spellbinding new book, the true story of the Pilgrims is much more than the well-known tale of piety and sacrifice; it is a 55-year epic that is at once tragic, heroic, exhilarating, and profound.

The Mayflower's religious refugees arrived in Plymouth Harbor during a period of crisis for Native Americans as disease spread by European fishermen devastated their populations. Initially the two groups, the Wampanoags, under the charismatic and calculating chief Massasoit, and the Pilgrims, whose pugnacious military officer Miles Standish was barely five feet tall, maintained a fragile working relationship. But within decades, New England would erupt into King Philip's War, a savagely bloody conflict that nearly wiped out English colonists and natives alike and forever altered the face of the fledgling colonies and the country that would grow from them.

With towering figures like William Bradford and the distinctly American hero Benjamin Church at the center of his narrative, Philbrick has fashioned a fresh and compelling portrait of the dawn of American history, a history dominated right from the start by issues of race, violence, and religion.

©2006 Nathaniel Philbrick; (P)2006 Penguin Audio, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., and Recorded Books, LLC. All rights reserved.

What the Critics Say

"Impeccably researched and expertly rendered, Philbrick's account brings the Plymouth Colony and its leaders...vividly to life. More importantly, he brings into focus a gruesome period in early American history." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (779 )
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4.1 (214 )
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  •  
    John M Lafayette, CA USA 02-04-07
    John M Lafayette, CA USA 02-04-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating book about a little-understood time"

    Mayflower is a fascinating account of a two early episodes in American History. The first period - the emigration of the Pilgrims from the Old World to the New is of course well-known, but not particularly well-understood. The basic story is there and (thankfully) the outline is what we all tend to believe. However, the details of the Pilgrims and that first Thanksgiving are nothing that you have learned in school. The initial chapters about the fitting out of the Mayflower (and the Speedwell) and the financial macinations are a bit tedious, but the story picks up very quickly with the voyage across the ocean and the landing around (but likely not on) Plymouth Rock.
    The second period, King Philip's War, leads directly from the first but is much less famous. It takes place 50 years later than the Pilgrim's landing and is fascinating in its own right. The background gained from the study of the events at Plymouth in the 1620's allows for a deeper understanding of King Philip's War that would have been impossible in a stand-alone context.
    The narrator does an excellent job with the pronounciations of the Indian proper and place names. It is a little confusing at first, but by the end of the book the names are familiar and easily recognizable. If you are interested in early Colonial history, I definitely recommend this book.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denis Lee, NH, USA 11-11-08
    Denis Lee, NH, USA 11-11-08
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    "A fresh and engaging perspective"

    This book revisits the story of the passengers of the Mayflower, the preparation for the trip, the founding of the Plimoth colony, and the turbulent interaction between natives and a rapidly growing English population, leading to King Philip war in 1675. The author succeeds in bringing the characters to life by expertly presenting their perspectives, values and aspirations. The book is thoroughly researched and very engaging. The narration is outstanding.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeremy Cookeville, TN, USA 09-04-08
    Jeremy Cookeville, TN, USA 09-04-08
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    "This is a wonderful book"

    This is a wonderful book. The author tells such a compelling story that once the book was finished I found myself missing the characters. You won't be dissappointed.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. 07-04-08
    E. 07-04-08 Member Since 2008
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    "awe-inspiring history but mistitled"

    This book covers a century. It has a large cast of historical figures, but not too large. I feel it focuses much less on the history of the Mayflower, and much more of the relations between the Indians and the Mayflower settlers and their descendents. It highlights both the day-to-day curiousities of the relationships, and makes me wonder how things could have been different. If you are looking for a book on the Mayflower, here instead is a great book about King Philip's War.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Lebanon, TN, USA 06-23-06
    Edward Lebanon, TN, USA 06-23-06 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Untold Native Stories"

    Overall the first half of the book moves at an even pace, fairly easy to follow until the author skips back and forth all over history's timeline to embellish episodes of an individual character before getting back to the sequence of events in the drama. The reader's tone is mellow and drawn out without much emotion. The insight into the Native American's lifestyle is facsinating, unlike anything I have read to date.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Chico, CA, United States 01-10-08
    Eric Chico, CA, United States 01-10-08 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic"

    Just what I was looking for. A well documented and well researched story about the Mayflower with a very good reader. Highly recommend.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David West Newton, MA, USA 01-14-07
    David West Newton, MA, USA 01-14-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "More than a journey across the sea"

    An interesting and detailed story of the Mayflower - but really much more about the first 40 years on this soil. Intersting descriptions of the first landing in Provincetown and then how the ship moved along the Cape shore untimately ending in Plymouth. But that is really only the first 1/3 of the book. Long descriptions of the relationship with native americans and frankly not always a very positive view of how the puritans treated the "indians" or of the numerous wars. The King Phillip War descriptions are lenghty - possibly too long. Worth the read.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russell 02-23-11
    Russell 02-23-11 Member Since 2008

    I love books and animals.I enjoy all sorts of genres, anything from history to supernatural.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Lots of detail"

    The main focus of this book is - the voyage of the Mayflower, its passengers, and the surrounding events that span about 50 years.
    It was particularly intersting to hear how turbulant the relationship was between the Native Americans and Pilgrims.
    The author uses an incredible amount of detail that make all the facts tangible and easy to listen to.
    The narrator is one of my favorites and I think he does a great job.

    Overall, if you enjoy historical non-fictions - you might want to try this. The only reason I did not give this a perfect 5 star was because the author jumped a little in the beginning of the book; and it was a little hard to follow at first.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Pinehurst, NC, United States 07-21-06
    Karen Pinehurst, NC, United States 07-21-06
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    "Removing the Blinders"

    By the time I had listened to only the prologue this book had my full attention! As a former elementary teacher I hope that future history books will include the perspective and the facts presented here. Young people need the to know the background of their national heritage to be better informed for opinions in their adult futures. As it stands now - that doesn't exist in our schools. A Wonderful and enlightening book with a captivating narration.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cranberry 06-22-06
    Cranberry 06-22-06 Member Since 2004
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    "History!"

    The true story of the Pilgrims? Seems a lot more realistic than the picture book images of the first Thanksgiving that we all grew up with. Living in the Northeast makes it that much more familiar. Lots of Indian names, and following what tribe is on which side during some of the wars gets a bit confusing, but the whole story is fascinating. Life wasn't so easy (or peaceful) back then -- for anyone! Good book, excellent narration.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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