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Of Plymouth Plantation: 1620-1647 Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 27, 1952

4.3 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

“Bradford’s history is a story of a simple people inspired by an ardent faith to a dauntless courage in danger, a resourcefulness in dealing with new problems, an impregnable fortitude in adversity that exalts and heartens one in an age of uncertainty, when courage falters and faith grows dim. It is this story, told by a great human being, that has made the Pilgrim Fathers in a sense the spiritual ancestors of all Americans, all pioneers.” Thus Samuel Eliot Morison, the preeminent American historian in this field, in his Preface to this great American classic.

For the first time the printed text of Bradford’s history has been compared word for word with the original manuscript; for the first time the difficult abbreviations and contractions used by Bradford have been filled out and his archaic and variant spellings made uniform. This edition has a double value: it presents Governor Bradford’s text in readable form and it provides contemporary readers with a history of that text and its enduring significance by the historian clearly elect to interpret it.

This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (June 27, 1952)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394438957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394438955
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I came across this book quite by accident and didn't think it would be much of a read. Generally speaking I don't read histories and one from the early 1600's was a pretty daunting task - or so I thought. In fact, it was a great tale of adventure and faith and an extremely insightful and thought provoking book about how this country was started and what it must have looked like to those who arrived here some 350 years ago.I really did love this book.
Bradford is an engaging writer whose prose isn't hard to understand. In places his understatement about the death and hardship faced almost constantly is even amusing. Nothing of the kind of challenges that the Leyden pilgrims faced in Massachusetts will seem familiar to a modern reader. Just the same, the fact that it all happened is fascinating. One can almost imagine being there, looking over the decks of the Mayflower and facing all that December gray and wilderness and wondering what you were doing coming here. Told in first person it reads like an adventure as much as a history.
The pilgrims here are also quite human and not at all the diorama characters of a first graders Thanksgiving craft project. They face social challenges and the horrors of death and disease. Attacks by natives actually occured on occasion. The dream of a sort of providence is one that proves difficult in the real world. Bradford mourns the loss of these ideals and the people who imported them. There's something a little sad in his later passages, whether it be age or a truly lost paradise one never really knows. But what Bradford imagined as a sort of religious nirvana clearly doesn't pan out in the end. Nevertheless it is well worth the journey. I highly recommend a read of this American classic.
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By A Customer on January 23, 1997
Format: Hardcover
William Bradford spends the entire first chapter of his book describing the Separatist religious movement--he was NOT a Puritan, contrary to the previous review.

Bradford's writing style, while sometimes introspective and monotone, is in many instances the most eloquent of all early American authors, using very thoughtful and beautiful metaphors. To describe the success of the Plymouth Colony after about 20 years, he wrote "Thus out of small beginnings greather things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and, as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation".

Bradford describes those small beginnings in his book, from the Pilgrims troubles in England to their departure and life in Holland. After twelve years in Holland, the Pilgrims made a teary departure from their friends to come on the Mayflower to America. As they are about to board the ship that will take them to England and on to America, Bradford in a sentimental outpouring writes "they went aboard and their friends with them, where truely doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting, to see what sighs and sobs and prayers did sound . . . But the tide, which stays for no man, calling them away that were thus loath to depart, their reverend pastor falling down on his knees with watery cheeks commended them . . . And then with mutual embrases and many tears they took their leave one of another, which proved to be the last leave to many of them.
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Format: Hardcover
Contrary to a previous review, Bradford can in all accuracy be labelled a Puritan, though he himself would not have appreciated the title, it being a word used as a jibe by their opponents. Nowadays, the word has come to refer to a theological standpoint, independent of political positioning. Hence an Anglican might be a Puritan (see Master Alden who came over on the Mayflower), and a Separatist would be even more likely to be one. Puritans might also be called "the hotter sort" of Protestants, for their strictness in matters scriptural, and Puritan theology is entirely in keeping with Bradford's position and beliefs, both political and religious, as a Separatist.
Previous reviewers seem to have approached the book with differring expectations. If you want to read about John and Priscilla, go to Longfellow, and if you want to read about Constance of the Mayflower, then you won't find her here (except in the records for the 1623 land division, maybe) - and indeed few of the myths of the Pilgrim Story can be found in Bradford's history. This might dissappoint some people who like to paint their history with honest toil and romance, Plymouth Rocks and Thanksgivings, but to a more attentive reader, Bradford has delights enough to keep anybody satisfied. His style is at times cumbersome, and the language of the 1640s(ish) can often obscure the already confusing legal language of some of the letters and contracts in the book. The language and style, though, are part of the book's character. Bradford's reticence in always referring to himself as either "The Governor" or "Governor Bradford" is not only quaint but also instructive, and to dismiss is as tedious is not to give it its due attention.
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