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)
Hmmm...just finished "The Mayflower" and am left wondering what might have been, had different decisions been made some 400 years ago. This is a thought-provoking read. Start it mid-November and you'll be the hit of conversation at your Thanksgiving dinner. I've always wondered about the real first Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims. I knew enough to be heartsick over the treatment of the Native Americans but also assumed them be an intelligent people, not easily tricked into giving everything away. Besides, how could peaceful, religious-freedom seeking, sweet Pilgrims turn into blood-thirsty Indian-fighters. It never quite added up. This book revealed so much about what actually happened, then took time in the Epilogue to explain the inception of our modern day myths of our Nation's origin. In short, the first generation of Europeans to arrive on the Mayflower managed to create a peaceful way of life with the Indians (if still not quite a Hallmark card Thanksgiving.) This was in spite of horrendous treatment of the Indians by the French in their recent past. It was the next generation of both the settlers and Indians who initiated mass bloodshed and intolerance one for the other. PS. Commercial slave trade in North America began with the export of Native Americans: sad truth.
This engrossing account of the pilgrims' and their evolving relationship with the Native Americans. I grew up in New England and have visited Plymouth many times, yet I had no inkling of the complexities that characterized the relationship between the two cultures. The focal point in the book is King Phillips War, which is barely mentioned in our history books. This book, expertly narrated will leave you questioning why we chose the myth of the Pilgrims over the reality of the tragic, yet illuminating events that actually occurred. This is one of those audio recordings I listened to in my driveway long after I should have gone into my house!
The Mayflower was just the start of this book. It goes on to explain the following decades and the ultimate conversion of the settlement into current Massachusetts. It goes in depth into parts of America's history which are not really discussed in history classes. The settler and Indian relationships were much more complex than I ever thought.
I thought this was going to be more of a social history, and it was a bit towards the beginning, but the second half was a blow by blow account of King Philip's War. It's a well written, good book if that is what you are looking for, but I found it dry and boring.
This book was worth the time.
I would recommend the book for the historical value that it offers.
Wampanoag, King Philip's father was a kind but cautious man who wanted only peace between his tribe and the puritans.
No, a break was needed to digest the information.
The story was realistic in terms of what both the puritans and Indians had to endure after the arrival of the Mayflower. However, I was a bit conflicted with the characterization of King Philip; a "coward" who demonstrated the ability to organize and lead so many in a desperate fight against the oppressor of his people. His actions appear to be that of a patient and tolerant man who reluctantly went to war as needed to save his people. Despite the many forces and odds aligned against him, he lead a fight that would kill over 5% of New England's population. How this leader could be characterized as a "coward that ran from battle" is remarkable.
The book was interesting and had data that was useful. However, it should have been titled "King Phillip's war" inasmuch as the actual story of the Mayflower immigrants and the Plymouth colony is not really covered other than those incidents that led to King Phillip's war. The war itself is well covered, with discussions on both sides of the conflict, showing that neither side was without blame and neither side without honor. The author does somewhat gloss over the sale of land by the tribal leaders -- yes, they needed cash and the sales were often matters of convenience, but it's never brought up that these leaders sold land without much consideration as to the impact of their fellow tribesmen and that such sales were as much due to a desire for personal power and influence both within the tribe and against rival tribes as it might have been due to "financial distress" and poor harvests of wild game. The extermination of wild animals (especially beaver) is briefly covered as a cause for a drop in the fur trade but again, the cultural choices and changes in the tribes and the desire for "wampum" or money isn't really discussed in much depth.
I haven't listened to any books by Philbrick before
yes. The narrator is clear, understandable and with good diction making for an easy listen.
I think it needs a prequel or companion book that actually covers, in depth, the Mayflower pilgrims and the subsequent Plymouth settlement.
Glad to have some good historical books on audible. Would appreciate if any scholarly ratings or information on the author's historical credentials were provided in the information on such books.
I claim modest standing because Edward Doty is one of my immigrant ancestors; "In June 1621, he engaged in a sword and dagger duel with fellow Hopkins servant Edward Leister; both were wounded before being separated, and were punished ...". We can not all have ancestor heros. Still, I have a long standing interest in the events and people of the era and very much recommend this account.
Further, I am tempted to invoke "the butterfly effect" in order to emphsize the importance of this founding event. No conquistadors in this saga! And this book does an exceptional job of presenting all the relevant idiosincracies of persons, places, and various groups up through the end of King Philips war in 1676.
And I recommend from The Great Courses "Before 1776: Life in the American colonies as well as the capture narrative "A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson" that is referenced in this book.
Philbrick is an extremely good practitioner of his craft, amazing story of a reality few are aware of and as usual Mr Guidall's narration is flawless.
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