Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647
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Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647

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3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  648 ratings  ·  60 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 Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages (first published 1651)
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98th out of 414 books — 211 voters
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1st out of 29 books — 4 voters


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Robin
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
Perelandra
"Let the Lord have the praise, Who is the High Preserver of men." These are the final words of William Bradford's historical log Of Plymouth Plantation. Bradford served as the governor of New Plymouth and in this book details the history of the pilgrims both before and after coming to America. By his firsthand account and the inclusion of many letters, Bradford writes the most important historical document we have from this time period about the lives, trials, and successes of the first English...more
Dwight
Feb 03, 2010 Dwight added it
http://bookcents.blogspot.com/2010/02...
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...more
John Martindale
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
Cristin
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...more
Sarah
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
Jamie
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)
Cindy Marsch
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!
Sarah
Language aside, Bradford's history of first years of settlement is full of drama. Sex, murder, betrayal left and right.
Joe
A good look at the Pilgrims, their trials and their progress.
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
Steve Rochford
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...more
Evelyn
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.
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
Jennifer M. Hartsock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Casey
"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
Julie Clark
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
Anna
I have read quite a few WWII books and read countless others, and WWII never ceases to amaze me. I read bizarre and fascinating stories of WWII all the time. When you read a story about a child escaping from a concentration camp and surviving the war, few stories are more interesting - including this one.
I read Of Plymouth Plantation every day for nearly three weeks - and about four of those days I actually fell asleep reading it. (I rarely fall asleep reading lol)
I agree with another reviewer:...more
Lisa
This book will definitely open your eyes to the "real" Mayflower Pilgrims. It can be a difficult read as Bradford's writing style and language is what one could expect from a man of the 1620's who isn't Shakespeare. You find that the fist permanent inhabitants were people with faults and failings, vices and bickerings, but you find an underlying sense of the hardships and tribulations that these people had to endure, somehow finding the will to go on. I would have loved to read a book like this...more
Troy Martin
Interesting.
Journal entries of governor William Bradford from England to Netherlands to New England. The majority of the book is the financial fiascoes that plagued them most of the time. Besides the huge part of the book that makes up the evidence against those who misused them as a otter pelt plantation, etc. the book is soaked in incredible observations, historical memorabilia, and devotional puritanism.
For Instance, 1. They first decided to settle in South America - Guyana, then Virginia, a...more
Shawn
This is mandatory reading if you wish to understand the foundation of New Plymouth Plantation and life in the early New England settlements in general. Of course, it is also critical if you wish understand the tremendous struggles of the Separatists & Puritans as they established their vision of community in a new land. As the settlement matures, the account of the plantation is provided as a year-by-year summary, but the earlier chapters provide a great deal of history of the events leading...more
Bob Mendelsohn
My copy of the book (paperback) was published in 1962. Edited with an introduction by Harvey Wish. I'm sure it's out of print now. The original 528 pages was trimmed well in half, yet the original spelling and punctuation remained.

Bradford was an amazing man, young when elected governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1621 and lived for decades in that role. That's long in any time frame, but certainly long after the landing of the Pilgrims and the scurvy which killed so many of them.

The book i...more
Paul
William Bradford, governor of Plimouth Colony, Massachusetts Colony. Puritan leader & chronicler of the colonie's founding & early history; chronicles 1st Thanksgiving in Massachusetts. Excellent narrative of the colonial events. Highly recommended.
John Senner
I read this because it was listed as one of the "Thirteen Books That Changed America." William Bradford's description of the founding of Plymouth Plantation, group that came over on the Mayflower. It begins as an idealistic group that sought religious seperation from the main church and found that. The group degenerates as they were cheated in business and various outsiders corrupted the group and sowed dissention. The books ends with a lament about the few original settlers left, and the loss o...more
James Violand
Jun 25, 2014 James Violand rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs
Shelves: own
A must for American history buffs, it records the daily struggles in settling New England. To gain a further understanding and a less sympathetic view, I suggest you read Thoreau's Cape Cod.
Brian Burgess
While not as exciting as typical books, I was very interested in seeing what one of the first settlers wrote about upon discovering the new world. Understanding his goal and their, the Puritans, theology is important in seeing how they dealt with coming over to a new land where they didn't know what would happen or if they would survive. The Puritans were an interesting people who feared God because of original sin. Their fear and observation of faith shows their fault but also shows an understa...more
Adam Talbott
Fascinating in parts, mind-numbing in others. An American must-read. Also interesting to see why communism doesn't work.
Denise
Small book - hard read; but I really enjoyed it knowing William Bradford is a direct line ancestor! Can't believe what these people had to endure, but their faith in God was unshakable.
Bouthaina Dilmi
an awesome book <3
Brenda
This book is an excellent introduction to the life of the first first settlements of New England. Bradford's narrative though at times a bit slow is a testament to the hardship and perserverance these newcomers faced as they overcame great adversity to eventually become a beacon of hope to a new generation of future Englishmen and women. It is extremely awe inspiring to see the dedication and sacrifices made by these brave, yet resolute Pioneers of colonial America.
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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.
More about William Bradford...
Homes in the Wilderness: A Pilgrim's Journal of Plymouth Plantation in 1620 William Bradford's Thanksgiving Address Plymouth Plantation: Selections From the Narratives The Arctic Regions: Illustrated with Photographs Taken on an Art Expedition to Greenland Governor William Bradford's Letter Book

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“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.” 12 likes
“And I may not omit here a special work of God's providence. There was a proud and very profane young man [aboard the Mayflower], one of the seamen, of a lusty, able body, which made him the more haughty; he would always be contemning the poor people in their [sea]sickness, and cursing them daily with grievous execrations, and did not let to tell them, that he hoped to help cast half of them overboard before they came to their journey's end, and to make merry with what they had; and if he were by any gently reproved, he would curse and swear most bitterly.

But it pleased God before they came half seas over, to smite this young man with a grievous disease, of which he died in a desperate manner, and so was himself the first that was thrown overboard. Thus his curses light on his own head; and it was an astonishment to all his fellows, for they noted it to be the just hand of God upon him.”
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