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)
This book does a nice job of illuminating the real life of the Pilgrims, and with that it succeeds. The first half of the book is devoted to telling how the Pilgrims began their voyage, and their first two years in the colony. This part is excellent.
The second half deals with King Phillip's War, and it just feels disjointed. The narrative jumps around and feels less cohesive than the first half of the book.
Finally, George Guidall normally does an excellent job narrating books. But in a story about Pilgrims and Indians his voice and manner just seems wholly out of place, and at times this was really distracting for me. His reading of the book made Phillip seem almost comical.
The title is an understatement. The Mayflower, its passengers and the resulting colony makes up only about 40 percent of the book. The remainder goes over the next 50 plus years talking about King Phillip's War. It's read well for a historical narrative. I learned a great deal about the early history of the first colonies and how Indian/English relations broke down over time.
This is a fascinating book, read so badly it would be better to buy the print edition - which would have the advantage of maps.
The reading is done with a persistent inflection that becomes tedious to the point of stupefying. Nautical terms are mispronounced, which is really irritating. For example: Lead-line is pronounced as 'leed'. Leeward is pronounced as lee-ward rather than lew-'ard.
This is the first time a reading has spoiled an Audible book for me in almost 2 years. I really regret wasting money on it, though the book itself is superb.
This was such a good book to listen to. The narrator was great. Since my family on both sides of my Mother's family came to America in the mid 1600 and my family on my Dad's side were from American Indian decent, this was really interesting. It really gives an appreciation for what people went through to form this country in the beginning. It wasn't perfect either then, but nothing is perfect until we get to heaven. It does though tell us that they didn't give up and they had much more strength than we do now. Too bad we are so complacent and whine too much about what we don't have instead of being thankful for what we do have.
Though not quite as good as "In the Heart of the Sea", Mayflower was captivating and interesting on it's own. I read this book years ago and found the Audible version just as good. I'm fascinated by history and learning the history on how the country was inhabited and then the facts behind the first Thanksgiving is captivating.
Some parts seem a bit slow but not for lack of detail or character background and development. I'm glad I took the time to re-read, or rather re-hear this story.
The history is fascinating and the research is much appreciated. But the cynicism and the judgmental arrogance of the author get very tiresome long before the book ends.
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