• God, War, and Providence

  • The Epic Struggle of Roger Williams and the Narragansett Indians against the Puritans of New England
  • By: James A. Warren
  • Narrated by: Bob Souer
  • Length: 7 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (51 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

A devout Puritan minister in 17th-century New England, Roger Williams was also a social critic, diplomat, theologian, and politician who fervently believed in tolerance. Banished from Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635, Williams purchased land from the Narragansett Indians and laid the foundations for the colony of Rhode Island as a place where Indian and English cultures could flourish side by side, in peace. 

As the 17th century wore on, a steadily deepening antagonism developed between an expansionist, aggressive Puritan culture and an increasingly vulnerable, politically divided Indian population. Indian tribes that had been at the center of the New England communities found themselves shunted off to the margins of the region. By the 1660s, all the major Indian peoples in southern New England had come to accept English authority, either tacitly or explicitly. All, except one: the Narragansetts. 

In God, War, and Providence James A. Warren tells the remarkable and little-known story of the alliance between Roger Williams's Rhode Island and the Narragansett Indians, and how they joined forces to retain their autonomy and their distinctive ways of life against Puritan encroachment.

©2018 James A. Warren (P)2018 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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    5 out of 5 stars
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The best book so far on Roger Williams

I've read everything I could on Roger Williams, the true father of the religious freedoms we enjoy in this nation. This is now my personal favorite. The author is VERY clear that all we have to go by when learning about this time period is the writings left behind, and those writings can be skewed at times (imagine reading a history of WWII 200 yrs from now written by a Japanese military men DURING the war). He does an excellent job at injecting at times why a certain historical record may not be fully reliable. You get a full history of various Indian tribes living in the area and how they interacted with Roger Williams and with the English. Roger Williams lived his faith while the Puritans seemed to use their faith as a club to subdue those who didn't agree with them. Williams' most enduring spark of brilliance was his unique recognition that God never, outside the unified nation of Israel, demanded that a government enforce the 10 Commandments or create a State religion and demand subjection. He looked back at Judah's time in Babylon and saw that it was the Jews' responsibility to live the life God spelled out, it was the government's job to make sure there was fertile ground for the true religion to flourish. It is impossible to give this man enough credit for his impact on the Founding Fathers' foundation for spelling out the religious freedoms this country was founded on. James Madison referred back to Williams' thinking when he insisted that we have FULL religious freedom rather than merely government "tolerance".

As soon as I was through, I started this book over again.

3 people found this helpful

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The Complexity and Diplomacy of early New England

I lived in Rhode Island for twelve years and my wife’s family had been there for over three hundred, and yet James Warren’s book taught me SO MUCH that I thought was long since tied down in the cobwebs of forgetfulness and buried in the dust of history. The book is readable, and, despite the intense complexity it shows us of the competition, division and diplomacy of New England in the 1600’s, would be comprehensible to a High School student today. I believe James Warren’s God, War, and Providence should be required reading for every High School student in Rhode Island.

3 people found this helpful

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Best Written Book on the Subject

This book reads like a novel bringing the characters and circumstances to life in a way that keeps the listener engaged and interested, without missing any of the important details and with the reminder that history has been - and remains - open to interpretation. I would recommend this to anyone new to the topic of Williams and the Narragansetts as well as anyone well versed in colonial New England and RI history.

The narrator is excellent. However, some of the Native American place names are mispronounced (at least based on the current local pronunciations like Cocumscussoc). It Is not distracting unless you know the current local pronunciation and will need to translate for context.

2 people found this helpful

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Early american history at its finest.

A brilliantly told book that for me at least really made me feel for the Narragansett tribe and other early New England Native Americans. It also made you think how different America could have been if they had prevailed.

2 people found this helpful