From School Library Journal
Grade 6-10This well-written biography of the Pilgrim leader will be a welcome addition to history collections. Very little has been written about him for a young audience; none of it is recent. Schmidt tells the story well, frequently quoting from the accounts of Bradford himself, as well as others. The archaic language in those citations requires a little effort, but shouldnt prove problematic. The author clearly presents Bradfords religious views and shows how those beliefs affected his life and actions and those of the Pilgrims. The care with which Schmidt approaches this aspect of his subject results in an objective presentation that informs without proselytizing. There are occasional lapses in chronology (on one page it is Monday, Dec. 21 as the Pilgrims go ashore; three pages later, it is Wednesday, Dec. 20 as they decide to stay where they have landed) but the story is otherwise clear. Black-and-white photographs (with reenactment photos so labeled), reproductions of prints and journals, and some simple maps are all well placed within the text. A brief bibliographic essay and some suggestions for further reading (mostly adult titles) complete the work. Most libraries will want to have this volume available for readers and researchers alike.Elaine Fort Weischedel, Turner Free Library, Randolph, MA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
paper 0-8028-5148-8 Paying tribute to both the political skills and the deep spirituality of Plymouth Colony's guiding light, Schmidt (Sin Eater, 1996) paints a warm and cohesive picture of William Bradford's role in that colony's foundation and growth. Orphaned since childhood, Bradford joined the Puritan movement as a teenager, and gave up a fairly prosperous life to accompany local Separatists in their move to the Netherlands. Readers will get a clear sense of the courage it took to make that break, to defy both monarch and established church, and to later board a barely seaworthy ship for a dangerous voyage to an unknown land. Under Bradford's wise stewardship Plymouth went from a struggling settlement to a flourishing town, surviving deadly winters, suspicious local natives, successive waves of poorly supplied immigrants, fire, rival colonies competing for land and trade, even an earthquake. The author sifts Bradford's writings for clues to his character--noting such ambiguities as his near- silence at his first wife's sudden death--and points out Plymouth's enduring legacy to this country. (illustrations, not seen, notes, bibliography) (Biography. 11-15) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.