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

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  89 ratings  ·  11 reviews
This title sets out to debunk the longstanding ideas about the life of the Pilgrims who settled at Plymouth Colony. The authors describe the arrival of the English settlers, the early years of the settlement, and the myths which have developed since.
Hardcover, 366 pages
Published September 15th 2000 by W.H. Freeman & Company (first published 2000)
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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
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
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.
Shirley Brown
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".
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.
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 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
The purpose is to debunk "numerous myths that surround the landing of the Mayflower and the first Thanksgiving." Pilgrims were human... go figure!
Wonderfully researched! Made the lives of so many earlier Plymouth settlers seem less like myths and more like humans.
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