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.
"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)
mostly nonfiction listener
Mayflower is straight ahead historical narrative in the old-fashioned style. This is the books strength and weakness. Strength because the story of the Pilgrims is both essential and compelling. I grew up in Boston and was a history major in college, and yet my understanding of the facts, dates, names, of the Pilgrims is all too hazy. This book helps. The weakness is that I felt often overloaded by the narrative, with Philbrick unwilling to draw broad conclusions or themes from the Pilgrim's experience. Still, I'm pretty excited to bring the girls to Plymouth Plantation.
I really loved this account of the first generations in Plymouth. the story really lasts through King Philip's War, and that is the third part really. anyway, a great piece of writing.
fan of history and politics
This book is roughly divided into three periods: the immigration of the Pilgrims, their interactions with Native Americans, and the conflicts including the Great Swamp Fight and King Phillip's War. It provided great context for the beginning of the white people's history in North America and the ensuing centuries of complicated relationships with Native Americans. I am particularly intrigued to learn more about Benjamin Church, who could be called America's first Army Ranger.
First, credit where it is due: This book was very well written, extremely well researched, and the narration was very good. I really enjoyed the first half that described the lead-up to the voyage, the voyage itself, and the struggle of the first few years. However, once it got into the details of all the different Indian characters, tribes and politics, I quickly got lost, as did my interest. This is more a statement about what holds my interest rather than a reflection on the book itself. For someone who is into deep details of interrelationships, I think this book would be a great fit.
Good history, interesting, but it was too long. All the events ran together after a while. Worthwhile, however, especially for history buffs.
good luck to all the tortured highschool students forced to slog through this book like the early Americans struggling through swamps, holding their muskets above their heads. possible more suitable for the true American history enthusiast.
forget most of what you know about Plymouth rock, Squanto, the Pilgrims, and early New England. The chapter in early American history that most people skip. Philbrick is a great historian.
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