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Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War Paperback – April 24, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (April 24, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143111973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143111979
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (540 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. What makes Philbrick's book so fascinating and accessible—the way he turns the Pilgrim legend on its head and shakes out fresh insights from the crusty old mythology we all absorbed in grade school—is present in full force in this exceptional audio version. With more than 800 audiobooks to his credit, Guidall gives the term "veteran reader" a whole new meaning. Such leading figures as William Bradford, Benjamin Church and Miles Standish of the so-called Plymouth Colony (which was not even close to Plymouth or its now-famous rock) emerge from the pages of history as understandable if not always admirable figures, and Guidall's evocations of the sadly depleted (by European diseases) Wampanoag Indians and their chief, Massasoit, are equally believable. The bitter voyage of the Seaflower (a slave ship taking captive Wampanoags to be sold in the Caribbean after a disastrous war with Massasoit's son, Philip), which rounds out Philbrick's masterful account, is treated with energy, respect and a straightforwardness that only increases its power.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Mayflower rethinks the events and players that gave rise to a national mythology about Pilgrims living harmoniously with their Indian neighbors. Instead, Philbrick tells a story of ethnic cleansing, bloody wars, environmental ruin, and the deterioration of English-Indian relations. While he introduces familiar elements, Philbrick also recasts well-known characters like Miles Standish ("Captain Shrimp"), William Bradford, and Benjamin Church. Most critics agree that he provides a well-researched, unbiased revisionist history (though we should note that for years many people have been reading about the environmental devastation of New England, the bloody Indian-English wars, and the less-than-pious Pilgrims). If not as gripping as the National Book Award?winning In the Heart of the Sea (2000), particularly the second half, Mayflower nonetheless provides a harrowing account of survival and, despite its grim themes, a celebration of courage.<BR>Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Nathaniel Philbrick
Life at a Glance

Born
1956 in Boston, Mass.

Educated
Linden Elementary School and Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh, Pa.; BA in English from Brown University in Providence, RI, and an MA in America Literature from Duke University in Durham, NC

Sailing
Philbrick was Brown's first Intercollegiate All-American sailor in 1978; that year he won the Sunfish North Americans in Barrington, RI; today he and his wife Melissa sail their Beetle Cat Clio and their Tiffany Jane 34 Marie-J in the waters surrounding Nantucket Island.

Married
Melissa Douthart Philbrick, who is an attorney on Nantucket. They have two children: Jennie, 23, and Ethan 20.

Career
After grad school, Philbrick worked for four years at Sailing World magazine; was a freelancer for a number of years, during which time he wrote/edited several sailing books, including Yaahting: A Parody (1984), for which he was the editor-in-chief; during this time he was also the primary caregiver for his two children. After moving to Nantucket in 1986, he became interested in the history of the island and wrote Away Off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People. He was offered the opportunity to start the Egan Maritime Foundation in 1995, and in 2000 he published In the Heart of the Sea, followed by Sea of Glory, in 2003, and Mayflower, due in May 2006.

Awards and Honors
In the Heart of the Sea won the National Book Award for nonfiction; Revenge of the Whale won a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award; Sea of Glory won the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize and the Albion-Monroe Award from the National Maritime Historical Society. Philbrick has also received the Byrne Waterman Award from the Kendall Whaling Museum, the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for distinguished service from the USS Constitution Museum, the Nathaniel Bowditch Award from the American Merchant Marine Museum, and the William Bradford Award from the Pilgrim Society.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#64 in Books > History
#64 in Books > History

Customer Reviews

The book made very interesting reading for me and I think it was well researched and written.
Hal Bourne
It is a terrific history of the Pilgrims and especially the unique relationship the earliest New Englanders had with the Indians.
Rick Mitchell
Mr. Philbrick brings history book characters to life, giving them personalities and feelings.
Joanne M. Stanton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

260 of 268 people found the following review helpful By Gary Griffiths VINE VOICE on May 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nathaniel Philbrick's remarkable "Mayflower" is everything you'd hope a history book to be: illuminating, lively, and authoritative. This was simply a terrific read, a fascinating glimpse into the events and people serving as the first bricks in our nation's foundation.

Beyond the fairytale images of "The First Thanksgiving", most basic American history skips from the Mayflower's 1620 landing in Plymouth the American Revolution, glossing over the rich and brawling century-and-a-half spanning these two events. Philbrick zeroes in on the first half-century, stripping away the myth and homily typically associated with the Pilgrims and laying bare a fascinating tale of courage and deceit, of trusts forged and broken, of politics, religion, brutality, and war. All the familiar figures are there - William Bradford, Miles Standish, Pokanoket Indian chief Massoit, Squanto, and Edward Winslow, but Philbrick focuses on less celebrated figures like Benjamin Church and Massoit's son Phillip, who while hardy household names today leave behind legacies that helped shape what would become a century later the United States of America.

This is a story ripe with opportunity for politically correct revisionism, but the author walks a balanced line, alternately praising and condemning the deeds and players of both the English and the Native Americans. We learn, for example, that near-starvation in the first two years had as much to do with the Pilgrim's failed experiment in socialism as it did with harsh winters and poor soil. This led Bradford to adopt a policy allowing each family to grow and hunt not for the "commonwealth", but for themselves. Thanks to Bradford's newly discovered spirit of capitalism, the colony is soon producing a surplus of food.
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81 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia K. Robertson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed Sea of Glory by Nathaniel Philbrick, so picked up his latest, Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War. Mayflower is actually two books in one. The first part details the story of the Pilgrims and their establishing Plymouth Colony. The second part deals with an Indian war since named King Philip's War. Unfortunately, I enjoyed the first section much more than the second.

Philbrick's account of the Pilgrims is a fascinating tale, and I'm not sure how much is new to me and how much I've just forgotten. The author starts with the Pilgrims in England and chronicles their beliefs, their escape to Holland, their grueling voyage, the establishment of Plymouth Colony and their befriending of the Pokanoket Indians and especially, their leader Massasoit. The first year was especially perilous and over 50% of the settlers died within the first six months. Some of the original colonists were not religious men (Strangers as opposed to Saints). But they quickly realized that they all had to work together to survive. One of the most remarkable achievements by the Pilgrims was the drafting of the Mayflower Compact. Before they even landed in the New World, these men recognized the need to set up a civil government in which all must agree to obey laws set up by their elected officials. Today, the Mayflower Compact is a "document that ranks with the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution as a seminal American text." The Pilgrims are also to be admired for their ability to adapt and they were willing to try almost anything to survive. In this way, they "proved to be more receptive to the new ways of the New World than nearly any English settlers before or since.
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212 of 224 people found the following review helpful By Robert Busko VINE VOICE on May 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
At 480 pages, Nathaniel Philbrick's Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War is in many ways a complete history of the Plymouth Colony. What a read though, and the pages flew by.....Mayflower is well written. Philbrick does a masterful job at breathing life into characters who have, over time, almost become larger than life. As a child who was familiar with the Plymouth story, Chief Massasoit, William Bradford, and Miles Standish seemed hero like; characters who were super human. Philbrick does a great job of making them human, and believable.

Philbrick also manages to clearly tell the most often misunderstood part of the story, that of the Wampanoag tribes precarious situation when the settlers arrived. There was a first thanksgiving, and for over half a century the two cultures lived in peace. Then the world for both peoples exploded with a huge loss of life on both sides as the result. This sickening failure is held center stage in Mayflower. Philbricks wonderful descriptions of the early countryside is as realistic as anything else. I suspect that historians may find fault here and there throughout the novel, but for this reader, Mayflower is a terrific story about early America and the loss of so much promise.

I put down In the Heart of the Sea to quickly read Mayflower. As with other readers I am now a hooked fan of Mr. Philbrick and cannot wait for the next book. I predict Mayflower will be a run-a-way literary and commercial success.
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91 of 102 people found the following review helpful By S. Harrod on September 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book with great anticipation, as it tells not only of the initial years of the founding of Plymouth but also of the following decades and King Philip's War.

However, I feel a lot of detail was lost, given the scope of the book. Almost no mention of the daily life in Plymouth. Almost no discussion on how religion was involved in Plymouth's governance (and religion was the primary factor for the migration). Almost no discussion of the social structure of the Indian cultures. Also, no attempt is made to put the actions of the both sides in historical context. The author does not explain why both sides felt that their actions were justified, given the culture of the times.

Such discussions would have been helpful because every time (not just occasionally) the author delves into a good juicy slice of history, it is marred by the author's personal (and modern) interpretation of the events. Moreover, the author's disgressions into opinion are not offered to help the reader interpret the facts or understand the context of the events. They are simply offered as the modern-day "truth," of the morality of the Pilgrims. To make matters worse, the opinions are not balanced, they are almost exclusively anti-Pilgrim.

However, because the author leaves out discussions of the Pilgrims' daily life, governance and religion, Indian social structure, and the cultures and viewpoints of the time, the reader is given no context in which to try to understand why the author has concluded that the Pilgrims are the only ones worthy of criticism. Without such context, the reader is left to conclude that the author's comments reflect some embarassment or an attempt to apologize for reporting what actually happened.
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