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.
The Pilgrims of Plimoth Plantation are part of the founding mythology of the US. But what most of us know, or at least remember, is Plymouth Rock, Thanksgiving, the Puritans, and then the Revolution. Maybe we remember that King Philip's War is a thing that happened, but we may be a bit hazy on the details. Probably we remember Squanto, the friendly Indian who taught the Pilgrims to grow corn.
Philbrick brings in all marvelously to life.
And in doing so, he restores the richness, complexity, and ambiguity of the real world.
The arrival of the Pilgrims wasn't the first contact New England Indians had with Europeans--and those earlier contacts had brought diseases the Native Americans had no previous encounter with. What had been a thickly settled region was now startlingly empty, with many whole villages wiped out diseases that killed so many there weren't enough healthy people to care for the sick. There was, in fact, room for the Pilgrims--if they could learn to live with their neighbors, and their neighbors could learn to live with them.
Philbrick gives us the fascinating tale of how, for fifty years, the Pilgrims and the local Indian tribes, most notably the Pokanoket, under the leadership of Massasoit, built an often uneasy but mutually beneficial working relationship that benefited all the groupings involved. We see the ways the Indians and the English influenced each other, learned from each other, and helped each other.
And then we see how it all broke down, first under Massasoit's older son, Alexander, and then his younger son, Philip--as well as the sons and grandsons of the English founders, including Josiah Winslow, William Bradford, Benjamin Church, and others--engaged in a cascading series of poor decisions, failures of diplomacy, and failures to communicate.
All the peoples and cultures involved were more complex and interesting than the standard version, and that includes the Pilgrims, the Massachusetts Bay colony,and the different Indian tribes.
I bought this book.
This work is what you would expect from Philbrick; detailed and easy to read with a stunning amount of information for a relatively short volume. The narrator is first rate. Two thumbs up.
This was a very good book. Well written and easy to read and understand, This book is full of complexity. This book tells a tale that is niether a slaughter of innocents by greedy Europeans, nor a story of rugged proto-Americans in a savage new land, nor an idealistic fairytale of peace. This is the story of people with people trying to survive in tough times
We're it not for the humane exploits of William Bradford and Benjamin Church one can only imagine how differently seeming inconsequential actions may have influenced this countries evolution. Emerging from sickness, surrounded by death and scant protection from the raw bitter cold of the New England; Bradford emerged miraculously to form a bond with local Indians who had theretofore resolved to eliminate intruders on their land. Church, a grandson of the Mayflower, would use discretion and forbearance to put an end to King Phillip's War. The details and the individual sacrifices in this book will rivit the reader to his seat.
Perspective of four centuries. Much more details than the usual account. Makes the events and people seem alive and enriches our understanding of human nature
I have read this book before, and I have listened to the abridged version as well, but I love all the details, so I wanted to hear it as a whole. Nathaniel Philbrick does a great job of telling the tale of the Pilgrims!
I'm not sure that there's a book to which I'd compare it.
The book is a history work, so Guidall does not do "voices" for characters because he is not reading fiction.
Mayflower--the story of the Pilgrims survival.
This is a great book!
I enjoy non fiction almost exclusively and especially love the history of Rome, the conquest of the Americas, and early American history from the founding of the earliest colonial settlements to the Antebellum rise of the United States.
What a great listen! This a a well written account not only of the Puritans that ventured across the Atlantic in 1620 but of their encounter and relationship with the Native Indian people of New England and how these first relationships set the course for future events.
I've read some reviews chastising Philbrick for a misleading title but I could not disagree more. As he notes in the introduction Philbrick compares two key figures of the ongoing Puritan experiment, William Bradford and Benjamin Church. There is another group that needs to be represented in this history and that is of course, the Native Indians. Philbrick not only gives insights to their prior way of life but to the myriad of upcoming changes for these native people. There is much insight to the world view of these parties involved, their motivations, the courage and loss, and struggle that all people persevere to not only survive but to flourish.
I would highly recommend this audiobook for anyone interested in early American history or the early encounters of Europeans and the native populations of the Americas.
I am listening to Mayflower for the second time. It is so much easier to get through than the print version.
I have to say that this book changed how I viewed the time period and the thinking of both the pilgrims and the indians.
I wanted to read and digest the thoughts in this book because several of my ancestors were pilgrims. I didn't realize that most of the story would be about the relationship they had with the indians, but I was extremely interested in learning about King Philips war and the second generation's dealings with the natives. I thought it interesting that the author kept calling the pilgrims "the English" because I had always thought that they were Americans from the moment they arrived. In truth, they were English until the revolution which was many generations later.
This book is definitely non-fiction - with the author's point of view. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in American history.
Report Inappropriate Content