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Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution Paperback – April 12, 1988

ISBN-13: 978-0394757780 ISBN-10: 0394757785 Edition: Reprint

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Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution + The Peopling of British North America: An Introduction + The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (April 12, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394757785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394757780
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #463,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bailyn's superbly documented history advances our knowledge of the migration of English and Scottish laborers and farmers from their native soil to wilderness colonial America. Researching this study for 10 years, Bailyn, a Pulitzer and Bancroft prize-winner for Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, with this new book is now well advanced into his Peopling of America series. This indefatigable historian is the first to achieve a full-scale follow-through on a remarkable London Register naming every person known to have left Britain for North America between December 1773 and March 1776. From town records, letters and contemporary newspapers, Bailyn describes dangerous ship-passages and arrivals of thousands of Scots, Yorkshiremen and Londoners in Nova Scotia, Carolina, Georgia, Florida and even the Gulf-Delta area. Focusing on rich British-Scots entrepreneurs, he describes one of the great land-grabs of historyand more than incidentally shows why the "indentured servant" aspect of this feverish migration petered out, to be replaced by black slavery. Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

The "key" to this work is Bailyn's identification of dual migration and settlement patternsone for families and another for single men and indentured servants. Relying on a British emigration register, 1773-76, and myriad "ancillary sources," Bailyn's is a masterful treatment of the "human meaning" of the transatlantic migration. By turns, he employs descriptive exposition, quantification, structural analysis, narrative accounts of many individuals and families, and graphic representations (including a novel portfolio of "portraits and scenes" of runaway servants, based on newspaper accounts). Part of a multivolume study that began with The Peopling of British North America: an introduction ( LJ 8/86), this is very highly recommended for most libraries. Roy H. Tryon, Delaware State Archives, Dover
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Footnotes are good.
Concho John
It is also well written -- full of stories where information has been found.
DDC
I would read about only those areas that interest you.
J Chadderdon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By S. Pactor VINE VOICE on May 4, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was a challenge to read. The first two hundred and fifty pages are as dull as any social science you're likely to read and the last hundred and fifty pages lack anything like a conclusion or summary chapter. None the less, you have to give credit where credit is due and acknowledge the majesty of this work.

Bailyn, in exhausting detail, uses records maintained by the British crown between 1774-1776 to document the who, what, where and why's of British migration to the colonies in the years immedietaely proceeding the revolution.

His main thesis can be summarized by stating that there were, in fact, two parallel migrations. The first was of unattached, single men from the area around London to the middle states of Maryland and North Carolina. The second migration was of families from the british midlands and Scotland. These migrants used Pennsylvennia and New York as a jumping off point for their population of the back country.

Baiyln backs up the thesis with tons of charts, graphs and maps. This was a much heavier read then I expected.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Donn R. Dufford on January 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Voyagers is an excellent resource for historians and genealogists interested in what brought people to America and kept them here. Social trends in immigrant countries, practices here. It's especially helpful for those of us looking for information about immigration in the early 1700s (1700-1740). A must for your bookshelf. While the bound version is more expensive, it is easier to layout on a copier or scanner to transfer info to your computer.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Pagenkopf on July 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
I studied this book in high school as part of my background research into colonialism and "American" life before the revolution. I have always been fond of history and wars so I possess a great deal more motivation to read a book of such immense proportions. The size is intimidating and unfortunately seems to discourage continued research from the layman reader because of the detail into which it ventures, which is the only reason I marked it down one star. On the whole, though, I found it to be an enjoyable experience for use in finding out key facets of history that typically are not focused on. Obviously, as a high schooler and even after I graduated I have not come close to reading all of the almost-700 pages of material. Nonetheless, what I have read offered a great insight into the lives of the time. Historians today dehumanize our heritage into simple fact and fiction, myth and reality while playing out the major occurences of the past. Voyagers to the West instead focuses on people as they struggle through trial and tribulation to acheive a goal that is never deemed to be necessarily "American," but is still something special as anyone who has ever desired something can relate to. This book goes into great detail, possibly too much for the common, semi-interested reader, to explain and convey that history is built around multitudes of "the little people" who forged ahead and established a precedence through their actions that altered perceptions and lives. It tells the true battles of the Revolution. Not battles situated around guns and generals, but rathr around individuals who had to struggle with more prominent enemies, themselves. It is a wonderful and I say necessary element of history to look at. It might be more comforting if the book was a bit smaller as the reader may feel compelled to move on from lengthy passages; otherwise, the book is more than worth it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Montgomery on June 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Voyagers to the West is a remarkable piece of scholarship. Bailyn uses as his primary source a register of emigrants from 1773-1775 (I may be off a year) that documents nearly 10,000 English and Scottish emigrants who left their respective homelands for the American colonies and other points including Nova Scotia and the West Indies. Bailyn concedes that the register is far from a complete or an all inclusive source for understanding emigration and the settling of the colonies, but what insights it does provide!

Bailyn constructs a broad and detailed narrative based on a statistical analysis of this register, as well as using other sources to understand this emigration process and life in the colonies. He looks at where the major points of departure were, where the main areas of arrival were, what types of people (young and old, indentured servants, family groups, etc.) were going where, and so forth. He also looks at the reasons why they left Great Britain and how leading officials in the British government were reacting to these emigrations.

Being a North Carolinian, I found the influx of mainly Scottish emigrants in this period who came to North Carolina very interesting to learn about. The story of James Hogg and others who came to North Carolina is told toward the end of the book. While many had visions of how they could make the most of the opportunities that they saw awaiting them, things often turned out quite different and more difficult than they could envision. The eruption of the American Revolution only a few years after their arrival also played a huge role in their affairs. Point being, what challenges these new immigrants to Britain's North American colonies faced! But it is also impressive that people were willing to take these sorts of risks! Just the voyages could be a horrifying experience, as you will read in this book.

Quite an impressive book and one I would highly recommend.
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