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Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War Paperback – April 24, 2007
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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 the Hardcover edition.
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 the Hardcover edition.
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Nathan Philbrick does a great job of introducing familiar historical facts and then expanding on them and making this old story new. Highly recommend.
Conneticut and explains the whys and wherefore better. Nathaniel Philbrick wrote In The Heart of the Sea with such intensity... I did not find the same result with the Mayflower.
The history is roughly evenly divided between the struggles faced by the early Pilgrims and Puritans and the conflict which ensued, culminating in King Philip's War, named after the relatively minor local sachem that sparked the rebellion. Not surprisingly, the author paints the Native American tribes as sympathetic figures, and in many cases rightly so. However, it is likely easy for him to do so in his heated study, well sated by a good meal, safe and secure in his person and possessions. The early American settlers were not so lucky.
It is a common misconception to view the local inhabitants as a homogenous, cohesive unit, when in fact they were split between dozens of tribes, some friendly, others not so much. As the story reveals, many Native Americans switched their loyalties repeatedly, making trust a major issue. It is beyond dispute that the American settlers and their subsequent generations badly mistreated the Native Americans, however it is naïve to suggest that, given greater understanding and empathy, the two sides might have peacefully coexisted. The clash of cultures, lifestyles and beliefs, coupled with the increasing flood of new immigrants made the ultimate result inevitable.
All in all, a good accurate history lesson on a topic, though familiar in the broadest sense, not so much as it relates to the details. And as we all know, the Devil is in the details.