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The Times of Their Lives: Life, Love, and Death in Plymouth Colony
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The Times of Their Lives: Life, Love, and Death in Plymouth Colony

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  120 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
James Deetz, who until his death was a leading expert on the archaeology of Plymouth Colony, and his wife, cultural historian Patricia Scott Deetz, give a realistic and fascinating picture of life in colonial America as they recount, in colorful detail, the true story of Plymouth Colony.

The Pilgrims were not the somber, dark-clad historical figures children learn about in
Paperback, 402 pages
Published October 16th 2001 by Anchor (first published 2000)
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Jul 03, 2011 Particle_Person rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
James Deetz was one of the founders of the field of historical archaeology and was one of the people who helped set up Plymouth Plantation. This book describes the history of Plymouth Colony from the Mayflower's landing to the 1690s with an emphasis on everyday life rather than the big historical events. It is a very idiosyncratic book, mostly by James I think, but completed by his wife Patricia. The text is entirely in the third person, which sounds ridiculous when James is talking about himsel ...more
Christopher Sturcke
Sep 08, 2015 Christopher Sturcke rated it it was ok
The content of the book is much better than the writing. The author presents some very interesting findings from court records, probate inventories, first-hand accounts, and archaeological digs. These findings give the reader good insight into the behavior and folkways of Plymouth colony which were quite different from those of their Puritans neighbors to the north in Massachusetts Bay. Some of the findings from the court records regarding behavior in Plymouth colony are actually quite shocking. ...more
Jul 22, 2015 Coralie rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting book. The James and Patricia Deetz are historians. James is an archeologist and Patricia is a cultural historian. They explain how artifacts, early building sites and primary documents can tell the tale of how the first settlers in Plymouth lived. I am a history major and can understand how some people would think this was dry. I loved it, and was actually annoyed at some obvious heavy-handed attempts to compare culture back then to popular culture today. Definitely r ...more
Aug 29, 2013 dejah_thoris rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Thorough and well-researched but a bit dry at times. I really enjoyed the chapters on social history and crime within the colony but found those on archeology and the founding of Plimouth Plantation less than enthralling. Yes, this book does a fine job of debunking the Puritan myth both by contrasting the reality with the myth and also contrasting the different settlements against one another (Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, and Chesapeake Bay) where applicable. But my biggest problem was the forma ...more
First, it's important to state that this book is well-written and appears to succeed at every goal the authors had. Second, I'm glad I read it.

Those statements aside, though, it is a very dry read and at times cumbersome. For me, it lacks the page-turning effectiveness I greatly enjoy in other works that conjure history. Having descended from one of the very people being described throughout (and specifically, at one brief point, much to my thrill), I am certainly in the camp of "willing to figh
Apr 11, 2014 Tami rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this up until the section about the housing. At that point, the authors lost me... Not having a background in architecture, I think the general reader would have benefited from additional sketches to supplement the detailed written description of the building types.
Jan 18, 2016 SouthWestZippy rated it really liked it
This is not going to take you on a glamour tour of the Plymouth colony. Very raw look. Good book well written.
Lynette  Lee (J.Kirby)
Offers great background story of the Pilgrims, how the myths were formed, and the issues of teaching those myths today in public school settings. Furthermore, it goes into legal court cases, documents, such as wills, to illustrate how these individuals preserved life and what they had to survive. For me, the last chapter was the best. It described archeological digs and what they found at the Plymouth site. Every artifact found illustrates the life that these people led. It's a must have for a h ...more
Shirley Brown
Jun 08, 2013 Shirley Brown rated it liked it
This wasn't quite what I thought it was going to be, but nonetheless I found it interesting because of my connection to the Plymouth Colony through John Alden, Priscilla Mullens, her parents, Edward Doty and George Soule who were all passengers on the Mayflower. The archaeological digs were most interesting and the court transcripts wills, probate listings were informative. Over-all the book was a little slow, but I would recommend it to any one who is interested in the "Pilgrims".
Mar 25, 2010 Kathy rated it liked it
The second half of this book, about the archaeology of Plymouth, is the more engaging. Deetz is more interested in the archaeology as well--the writing becomes more energetic and fluid, his off-hand remarks funnier. This presupposes that you're interested in what sorts of houses the 'pilgrims' built, what spoons and dishes they used, what they drank out of and wore. If you're interested in the history of these early settlers, Philbrick's Mayflower is better.
Mar 01, 2010 Natalia added it
Shelves: non-fiction
I found the first few chapters interesting when the authors discussed the travel to and first landings on the new land, but then the authors jumped ahead to the late 1600's after the colony is well established. I am more interested in the early years of the plymouth colony.
Darrell Johns
This book presented a much warmer and more human picture of the Pilgrims. It also gives a clear, detailed picture of their day to day lives. Extremely engaging narrative from an Anthropological perspective.
Jul 11, 2007 Rebecca rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who are sick of the Jamestown rahrah.
This book is quite interesting. It is about the settlers who came over from England and landed at Plymouth, MA. I haven't finished the book yet, so I will complete my review later.
Scott Ford
Feb 07, 2010 Scott Ford rated it liked it
Shelves: american-history
The purpose is to debunk "numerous myths that surround the landing of the Mayflower and the first Thanksgiving." Pilgrims were human... go figure!
Dec 06, 2010 Carolyn rated it really liked it
Wonderfully researched! Made the lives of so many earlier Plymouth settlers seem less like myths and more like humans.
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