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)
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.
"An honest, no glitter account of the great European migration and the decline of the native Americans"
A truly informative and objectively written account of the first 50 or so years with the Puritans landing (eventually) in Plymouth and their relationship with the local native Americans developed, matured and eventually deteriorated into a state of war.
An eye opening book.
I grew up in the areas of Fall River, Mt Hope, Newport, and Portsmouth. My mother told me very briefly about King Philip's War when I asked her as a child who King Philip was and why there was a street named after him. Beyond that, and a few visits to Plymouth Plantation to see how the Pilgrims lived, I knew almost nothing of this amazing history. As the story was told, I could see in my mind the exact banks of the rivers, the view to the other side where canoes would have put in, and other scenes described. I didn't want the book to end. Thank you, thank you for such an amazing story!! Beautifully told!!
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.
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