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Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647

3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  1,152 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
Modern Library College Editions William Bradford's "Of Plymouth Plantation" is a remarkable work by a man who himself was something of a marvel. It remains one of the most readable seventeenth-century American books, attractive to us as much for its artfulness as for its high seriousness, the work of a good storyteller with intelligence and wit. Edited, with an Introductio ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 1st 1981 by McGraw-Hill Education (first published 1651)
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I don't know how to review this exactly, as it's a documentation of the roots of Puritanism, Pilgrims decision to start a colony in "North Virginia", their voyage west, their arrival at Cape Cod, their encounters with the people whom we now know as Native Americans, and their establishment of Plymouth Plantation. William Bradford supposedly never meant for this to be public record, which is pretty ridiculous. It's incredibly thorough, and it's likely the only documentation that took place over a ...more
Steve Hemmeke
Sep 04, 2015 Steve Hemmeke rated it really liked it
William Bradford was the governor of Plymouth Plantation almost every year from 1621 to 1657 when he died. He relates first hand our legends of Squanto, the first Thanksgiving, the Mayflower compact, etc.

Some much beloved words come from his pen:
The term Pilgrim coined:
"So they left that goodly and pleasant city which had been their resting pace near twelve years; but they knew they were pilgrims, and looked not much on those things, but lift up their eyes to the heavens, their dearest country,
John Martindale
Feb 22, 2014 John Martindale rated it it was amazing
I am giving this book 5 stars to balance out the multitudes of uncharitable ratings found here. Sure, this book was not always the most entertaining or smooth going read and yes Bradford was a flaming calvinist, so his perspective on God's providence is highly disagreeable. But still the book doesn't deserve to be dished like it is here, William Bradford did shared many aspects of a fascinating journey that we don't learn in modern history books. I imagine many who had to read "Of Plymouth Plant ...more
Shanna Trim
Aug 10, 2015 Shanna Trim rated it really liked it
He sure didn’t put the “Pure” in “Puritan”

So, today my classes started back and my first assignment in my American Lit class was to read parts of William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647. The whole thing is dry as hell and written in 17th century English, so my eyes were pretty heavy there at the end. Then we get to the last few pages and we learn about Thomas Grainger. (NGL, I thought he was Hermione’s dad at first, but, no.) This guy was the first person hanged in the US. Which, wh
Feb 03, 2010 Dwight added it
Some general thoughts on the book:

While religion was a central aspect of the Pilgrims’ experience, the business aspect appears as a major focus. As I mentioned in Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower, the Pilgrims were constantly being taken advantage of in many of their dealings. While they do show increasing business savvy (hiring an additional person to oversee a new agent, for example), some things were out of their control. The death of the lone ship carp
Nov 22, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a huge eye opener for me. I was raised with families that thought the pilgrims were some of the most perfect people ever. This proves them very much wrong. It was hard to read (Because of the old English) but there is no better book to understand what the pilgrims really believed. I found my respect for what they went through rise, but there beliefs fall. It made me realize how legalistic they were, as well as how important small things were to them. Although I disagree with much of the ...more
the most unbearably boring thing I've ever read in my entire life. I understand it's importance, but fuckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk i almost cried reading this. I'm taking it for survey of american literature class and I understand the importance of knowing the cultural context of literature before reading it, but this was Hell non the less.
Li Zhao
Apr 11, 2017 Li Zhao rated it it was amazing
It was a such detailed book recording truthfully what really happened during that tumultuous period of time, which helps us modern people to understand why the things turned out the way they are. With those contents we can slowly connect the dots and let the past come alive again.
A.R. Simmons
May 27, 2016 A.R. Simmons rated it really liked it
Of Plymouth Plantation is a chronicle of an early religious colony written by a true believer. Keep that in mind.

It was interesting reading some of the critical reviews. I won't comment on them except to point out that there was more criticism about the personality and belief system of the author than of the book itself. Bradford gives us his personal account of people trying to carve out a living in a far from unspoiled wilderness. If one reads the other things that were being written about Am
Derek Davis
Jan 14, 2017 Derek Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somewhere between an after-the-fact diary and a modern blog, these reminiscences of the long-time governor of the first major English settlement in Massachusetts is a fascinating read, not only for Bradford's own measured comments, but more particularly for his inclusion of the numerous letters among the various New World settlements and England. The letters remove his assertions from being one-sided comments by giving them the backing of the commentators' original words.
It was a tough, often ha
Jul 01, 2007 Cristin rated it it was ok
Shelves: american-history
Holy crap...Forgot I read this one...It was junior year of high school, and I attribute my 2 star rating to the fact that I might have suffered a case of very temporary narcolepsy in my English class. I attribute my sleepy condition to two powerful forces:

1. Bradford's epic sentences make David Foster Wallace's lengthy grammatical constructions seem comparatively short...(which --in my experience-- isn't conducive to compulsive reading).

Aaaaaaand the other reason is a bit more complicated and s
Feb 20, 2008 Jamie rated it it was amazing
I like all things historical, so this one was interesting to me.
How DO you start a settlement??
Lots of detail, lots of setback, it is amazing that anyone survived it let alone wrote it all down..
William Bradford was there!
Written in the style and vernacular of the day (1600's)
Jan 26, 2013 Ivan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Historically significant but frighteningly dull, William Bradford's account of the first British colony in America is one of the driest things I've ever read. Every thought written belongs in the category of "Jesus is good" or "Indians are bad".
Oct 31, 2009 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good look at the Pilgrims, their trials and their progress.
Sep 25, 2014 Grace rated it really liked it
This was really miserable to read, but it was full of information about the Pilgrims that isn't in any other history book.
Cindy Rinaman
Nov 26, 2013 Cindy Rinaman rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star-reviews
A very important read for those who care about history--from the pen of one who was there. Clear up your misconceptions about the Pilgrims here!
Aug 20, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
Language aside, Bradford's history of first years of settlement is full of drama. Sex, murder, betrayal left and right.
Sep 26, 2015 Rachel rated it liked it
That was ROUGH. I do appreciate our first settlers though.
Paul Haspel
Of Plymouth Plantation is an interesting and important book, not just for Thanksgiving week but for any time of year. The Pilgrim Father William Bradford is a vigorous and energetic writer. Bradford sees the events that befall the Plymouth Colony he leads as part of a Biblical conflict between good and evil, with the Pilgrims as lonely wanderers on a godly path. That godly path had a high cost; Bradford's first wife fell to her death from the deck of the Mayflower, and scholars still wonder if s ...more
"Thus out of small beginnings greater things have grown by His hand Who made all things out of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light enkindled here has shone to many, yea, in a sense, to our whole nation; let the glorious name of Jehovah have all the praise."

William Bradford's indispensable history--which was lost during the eighteenth century and rediscovered a century later in, of all places, a London library--is as much a r
Ben Black
May 05, 2017 Ben Black rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I tried to read it since it looked interesting but quit because it was really dry.
Jennifer M. Hartsock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steve Rochford
Jul 30, 2011 Steve Rochford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is history in the raw. Hardships, military actions, political goings on, merchant dealings. It is a long way from construction paper hand turkeys and cardboard blunderbusses. I admire these people, and I envy the challenge of settling an unknown land. In today's age, it seems this challenge is long gone.

When you read this book you read about people that were up to the challenge and people that were not. You can only help to ask yourself: "Are you?"

Documented in gritty detail are the un
Dec 23, 2016 Karen marked it as to-read
* Understanding Oppression: African American Rights (Then and Now)
Sep 14, 2010 Evelyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, 1600-1850
I thought at first this book might be a bit dry, but I was surprised at how interesting it was. The Pilgrims (named thus first by Bradford himself) escaped from religious persecution in England to a very tolerant Holland, where they spent twelve years, but that lifestyle didn't suit the Puritan faith either, and so they left for America on the Mayflower. Over half of them died, but honestly, I couldn't help thinking that it was amazing that any of them survived. They starved most of the time. Th ...more
William S.
May 26, 2011 William S. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never would have read this book without having made a New Year's promise to read more classics, and that would have been my loss. Governor Bradford writes clearly, and on occasion with eloquence. His survival tactics for the beleaguered colony are praiseworthy, pursued as he was not only by disease and the elements and potentially hostile natives, but by grasping investors. One can see why the peace was kept with native Wampanoags throughout his lifetime, and only became unsustainable after he ...more
Mar 13, 2013 Casey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Let it not be grievous unto you that you have been instruments to break the ice for others who come after with less difficulty; the honour shall be yours to the world's end, etc." ~ in a letter to William Bradford from the General Adventurers of the Plymouth Colony in 1623 explaining why ship after ship arrived in Plymouth loaded with more mouths to feed but no supplies to feed any of them, causing those few who survived the first winter and following hardships to continuously reduce their own ...more
Dec 05, 2014 Gyoza rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This is a firsthand account of the founding of the Plymouth settlement in Massachusetts by the pilgrims who came over in the Mayflower. Reading (or rather, listening to the audiobook) it really brought home to me just how difficult it is to settle a new land, especially given the conditions back in the 1600's. Like any other ambitious group enterprise there was politics, intrigue, and all the ups and downs of getting along with one another, dealing with people's foibles, keeping the investors fi ...more
Rik Booraem
Oct 23, 2016 Rik Booraem rated it liked it
Seventeenth-century language is a challenge; detailed explanations of business deals are tedious; and the reader often needs a good history of New England to understand the references. Despite these problems, it's worth reading for an immediate account of the hardships, storms, diseases, and double-crosses these people endured, and a glimpse of the faith in God that helped them do so. The reader learns that the coast of Massachusetts was not a lonely wilderness with a small cast of friendly Indi ...more
Julie Clark
Jan 06, 2010 Julie Clark rated it it was amazing
the journal of William Bradford - the governor of the colony for nearly 30 years. The fact that this man is not as studied as George Washington or other founding fathers is a travesty. This book should be required reading! It is a history written by the person who witnessed the whole thing. I borrowed the “modern language” version from the library (modern language meaning that all of the oddly spelled words are corrected - nothing is changed as far as the content) and it has lots of wonderful fo ...more
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William Bradford was an English leader of the settlers of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, and was elected thirty times to be the Governor after John Carver died. His journal (1620–1647), was published as Of Plymouth Plantation. Bradford is credited as the first to proclaim what popular American culture now views as the first Thanksgiving.
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“Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and, as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many...” 23 likes
“May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: "Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness but they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice, and looked on their adversity, &c. Let them therefore praise the Lord, because He is good, and His mercies endure forever. Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, shew how He hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered in the; desert wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry, and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them. Let them confess before the Lord His loving kindness, and His wonderful works before the sons of men.” 19 likes
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