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The Sovereignty and Goodness of God: with Related Documents (Bedford Cultural Editions Series) Paperback – February 15, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0312111519 ISBN-10: 0312111517 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Bedford Cultural Editions Series
  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's; First Edition edition (February 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312111517
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312111519
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This edition of The Sovereignty and Goodness of God, with documents provided and the editor’s very fine introduction, will at long last give scholars and teachers a version of the text equal to its historical and literary importance."
— Barry O’Connell, Amherst College

About the Author

Neal Salisbury (Ph. D., University of California, Los Angeles) is a professor of history at Smith College and specializes in the history of American Indians and colonial New England. He is author of Manitou and Providence: Indians, Europeans, and the Making of New England, 1500-1643 (1982) and The Indians of New England: A Critical Bibliography (1982) and is coauthor of The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People (1990). His most recent article, "The Indians' Old World: Native Americans and the Coming of Europeans," appeared in the July 1996 issue of the William and Mary Quarterly.

Customer Reviews

Wasn't a easy topic to read.
As a bonus this book has extensive additional material, plus commentary by Neal Salisbury.
I decided to read this book after having read "Mayflower".

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on September 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
"The Sovereignty and Goodness of God, Together with the Faithfulness of His Promises Displayed," by Mary Rowlandson, is a compelling piece of colonial American literature. First published in 1682, this autobiographical text represents a genre of literature known as the "captivity narrative": a first-person account of a white settler who was held as a hostage or prisoner by Native Americans. In Rowlandson's case, she was taken captive during Metacom's War (also known as King Philip's War), which took place in 1675-1676.
The edition of Rowlandson's book edited by Neal Salisbury is excellent. This edition contains Rowlandson's text, together with a wealth of other materials: a thorough introduction, many maps, a chronology, a bibliography, and other historic documents from Rowlandson's era. The many illustrations include photographs of the title pages of earlier editions.
Rowlandson's captivity narrative is a significant milestone in American literature; the introduction to the Salisbury edition notes that the text "has been almost continually in print since 1770." Since the text itself is relatively short, it has appeared in anthologies (see, for example, "The Harper Single Volume American Literature," third edition). But the many "extras" in the Salisbury edition definitely make it a book worth buying, even if you have an anthology already containing the Rowlandson text.
Rowlandson's memoir itself is not great literature stylistically. But it is a fascinating text with some really striking passages. Rowlandson's extreme evangelical Puritanism will likely alienate or bewilder some modern readers, but her religious attitude should be read in historic and cultural context.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Yalensian VINE VOICE on February 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
Interestingly enough, I read this for a course on early American literature. But as a history major, I can say that it would have served equally well in a course on, say, Colonial New England or Social Life in Colonial America. It provides fascinating insights into Puritan life--especially into its religious beliefs and practices and the huge role they played in the life of a Puritan. Moreover, it chronicles the contact of two societies at odds: Puritans and Native Americans. Rowlandson's descriptions of her captors are exceedingly interesting and give depth to any consideration of life in early America. Salisbury's notes and introduction are also quite helpful. Read as a piece of literature, moreover, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God proves to be a fruitful topic for study, as well as a great complement to its function as an historical document. Considering my English course included some rather unsavory texts, this one was much appreciated and quite refreshing, too.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By lanoitan on June 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
I decided to read this book after having read "Mayflower". It was apparently the first American bestseller and was popular in Britain also at the time. I was curious about how she was treated by the Indians. It certainly showed these Indians as ordinary people - which I should have expected. It did say something about these aborigines that they didn't rape her as so many other peoples would have done - spoils of war and all that. On the overall I found that the Indians treated her civilly. Of course the Indians had trouble finding food just as she did have obtaining food and they were trying to brave the attacks of her people all the time. The King Philip War was a tragedy. The Indians had been treated badly by the English (so what's new?)and in my estimation from what I read King Philip was not a jingoist like Moseley. Indeed I felt he was by nature a peaceful person like his father. I was shocked that the Mohawks sided against him. Well, war is hell and friends often turn into enemies for who knows what reason. At any rate, in conclusion, I felt that this is an important document and her religiosity was normal for the time, a time when John Hoar (a good guy) was thrown in jail for not attending church! I don't think you can appreciate this book using today's morals and behavior as the criterion.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Linda R. Gabriel on December 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
An important piece of Early American literature, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God is a true, first-person narrative account of a 17th century Puritan woman whose village was attacked by Indians in 1676. Mary Rowlandson's family was massacred, and she and three of her children were taken captive. Of the 37 in her household, 24 were captured and 12 killed, with only one escaping. Her two older children, ages 10 and 12, were separated from Mary and her six-year-old child, who died nine days later.

The Introduction in this publication, written by Neil Salisbury, is very helpful in giving the background and setting of this incident. Salisbury describes the relationship between the local native Indians and the English colonists of Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut which existed for 30-40 years. He also explains the issues and events which contributed to the building tension and eventual conflicts that took place.

The opening scene is very dramatic and graphic -- barbaric, chaotic, and hellish. Throughout the account various epithets are used to describe the Indians: hell-hounds, ravenous beasts, barbarous creatures, murderous wretches, merciless heathen, and wolves. Some people may object to this as offensive and even racist, but I believe it is ignorant of readers to say this is a racist account. The writer speaks with emotion while describing her personal feelings and actual experiences as a witness of the horrific scene that takes place before her eyes. She then spends about three months with the Indians before being returned, during which time she is in genuine fear for her life and doing what she can to survive.
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