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Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson

2.9  ·  Rating Details ·  1,625 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
In February 1676, during King Philip's War, the frontier village of Lancaster, Massachusetts, was attacked by a party of Nipmuck Indians and completely destroyed. As relief from Concord approached, the attackers withdrew, taking with them 24 captives, including Mrs. Mary Rowlandson and her three children.

For almost three months the little family was forced to live with the
Paperback, 36 pages
Published November 3rd 2006 by Hard Press (first published 1682)
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Feb 25, 2011 Robin rated it it was ok
Mary Rowlandson was a European captive of Native Americans who kidnapped her and her children and held them hostage. She survived plenty of atrocities, including slavery, witnessing people's murders, and holding her son as he died in her arms. This is her testimony in book form and apparently, in Ye Olde Puritan Tymes it sold like hotcakes, because even 350 years ago, nothing sold readers on a book quite like kidnapping and torture: hence, the American captivity narrative (ah, our great American ...more
Mar 30, 2012 Steven rated it liked it
Shelves: home-inventory
The Lancaster slaughter which opens the narrative horrifies me still, as it was intended. But there's only so many times you can say, "knocked in the head," without unlidding your reader's laughbox. I tried not to smile, I really did. Alas...

The "removes" Rowlandson uses to mark the episodes of her journey signify more than wanderlust or nomadic jimmy leg. Each clash and execution, each day without food or drink, each hour away from the comfortable naivety in which Rowlandson, until her captivit
Jan 02, 2012 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
This short historical narrative was an interesting read, both historically and spiritually. Mary Rowlandson was captured by Indians in the 1600's and held captive for eleven weeks until she was ransomed. Stripped of all comforts, and losing sight of all human help, she was able to endure her captivity only through her strong faith in God. Instead of dwelling on the hardships she faced daily, she continually traced the goodness of God in keeping her safe from even further harm.

"Yet I see, when G
Sep 28, 2007 Tina rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, maexam
Two stars only for the unintentional comic value. Ah, only a Puritan could write this. You wouldn't think a 50 page piece could be that redundant, but oh, how it is. She basically talks about the food she eats and how much she loves god and how evil the Native Americans are, even though they don't treat her that badly. But there's lots of hilarious moments that are all like: THERE'S NO WAY THE INDIANS COULD SURVIVE ON THEIR OWN THIS MUST BE YOUR WILL GOD THANK YOU SO MUCH and then the best part ...more
Jun 16, 2015 Jimmy rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Written about 1675, this is probably the most famous of the captivity narratives. It's a slog to read with the long paragraphs, Biblical quotes, and archaic language. I understand the Biblical info was added later by others. As always, the particulars of the truth of the narrative is somewhat in doubt.

Then there are the occasional lines like this one: "That night they bade me go out of the wigwam again. My mistress's papoose was sick, and it died that night, and there was one benefit in it—that
Oct 21, 2010 Evelyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, 1600-1850
I can't imagine living through such a nightmare. This book is the record of Mary Rowlandson's capture and captivity by some Native Americans in the year 1676. Her husband, three children and several friends and relatives from her town were also taken, though they were all separated and she only saw some of the others from time to time.

She records the daily circumstances of her captivity in a very frank manner and describes how her faith in the Lord helped her to bear up under her afflictions. He
Oct 14, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
Wait - this woman essentially goes through hell and back, and she manages to hang onto her knitting the whole time? I'm calling shenanigans.
This is a very important piece of American literature not necessarily because it's what the narrator intended, but because of how much is revealed of the Native American culture - unintentionally! We read Mrs. Rowlandson describing all these seemingly "horrific" deeds of the natives, but really, any amount of "savagery" involved was nothing more than what would typically be seen in any battle or invasion. We read about her not being fed anything but cold water. Was that because she and her child ...more
John Pistelli
I think I am on my fourth or fifth reading of this short book, and they have all been in an academic context, either as student of the text or teacher of it, and always, for that matter, from the Norton Anthology. Rowlandson's narrative stands up to that many readings. Her style is lively, even verging on the epic, as at the in medias res beginning. She has a very observant eye, on the one hand, but also a powerfully allegorizing imagination; these often conflict with each other, which is the ch ...more
An important piece of Early American literature, this is a true, first-person narrative account of a 17th century (1682) Puritan woman whose village was attacked by Indians; her family was massacred, and she and a couple of her children were taken captive. Of the 37 in her household, 24 were captured and 12 killed, with only one escaping.

The opening scene is very dramatic and graphic -- barbaric, chaotic, and hellish. Throughout the account various epithets are used to describe the Indians: hell
Nov 10, 2015 Olivia rated it did not like it
Had to read this for class. Incredibly dull.

Mary Rowlandson also comes across as rather a dreadful person. It's entirely fair that she is experiencing a trauma, but her narrative is dry, and the strong Puritan tone is really not to my taste.

Obviously a good primary source of its era, but not really something I'd recommend reading, even if it's so short.
Jun 22, 2011 KatieSuzanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
It's hard to give stars to someone's true account. The beginning is pretty disturbing and the rest is similar to any account of someone held in captivity. Jews, slaves, Russians...not to sound uncaring, but it's true. There's always a lot of being hungry, being pushed around, doing small favors for kindness, etc. In the end I started wondering if I was in a similar situation and had only a Bible if I'd be quoting it constantly like she was, or any book for that matter. I liked at the end her bri ...more
Kimberly Ann
Not up my alley. Too much Puritan typology and "the Lord afflicted me so that thru my patience I could see that I needed to appreciate him more as one in his grace" nonsense. Read for class. Class has been interesting--the actual reading experience? Not so much.
emma hn
May 06, 2016 emma hn rated it did not like it
Shelves: worst-read

you are a very disagreeable person, mrs mary rowlandson. i do not like you.
Mar 03, 2015 Alex marked it as to-read
Okay, this looks sortof fun. And someone said it was pretty good reading.
Aug 30, 2016 Chelsea rated it liked it
3.5 This was engaging, interesting, and thought provoking.
Sep 22, 2016 Jerrica rated it liked it
Shelves: midd-senior
I hate Puritans.
Apr 20, 2016 sabisteb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1675 wurde die Pastorengattin Mary Rowlandson, nach einem Indianerüberfall auf die Siedlung Lancaster, zusammen mit ihren 3 Kindern von den Angreifern gefangen genommen. 11 Wochen und 5 Tage lebte sie bei den Indianern. Diese Aufzeichnung war wohl eigentlich für den privaten Gebrauch, als Erinnerung, gedacht. Daher ist es verständlich, dass der Text stilistisch eher mäßig ist und hauptsächlich aus Aufzählungen besteht: then… then… then…
Meist erzählt sie, was es zu essen gab oder eben nicht. Wie
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Read for my work, which is tutoring Eng Lit majors.

If I had read this when I myself was in college, I might have swallowed it whole. But I didn't. I read it at the age of 53, and immediately asked Mr Google. The consensus is that Mrs Rowlandson is not a terribly reliable narrator, and if you read it you'll see why.

I am not saying that it was uncommon for white settlers to be taken captive by the local indigenous population--particularly women, for obvious reasons. Not all those indigenous peop
Mar 29, 2015 Shane rated it really liked it
***Review Contains Some Spoilers (But Does Not Give Away Key Information in the Book)***

I came across this book in my studies of American Colonial Literature last week and it intrigued me. I read the beginning excerpt of the book in which the Native Americans attack the town, kidnapping Mary Rowlandson while kidnapping (or killing) some of her children in the process. So my initial concept of this book was that it was going to be a dark, but interesting and factual real-life account.

In the proc
Jan 01, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it
The "Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson" is the memoir of Mary White Rowlandson (1637-1711), a Colonial American woman who was captured by Natives on 10 February 1675. Forced into slavery by the Narragansett tribe that destroyed her familial farmstead and killed several of her family members, Mrs. Rowlandson was held captive for 11 weeks and five days. Within its terse, faith-filled 45 pages, the book recounts the savagery of her captors and the brutality of her e ...more
Mar 25, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
4.5 stars - Re-read in conduction with a discussion led by Neal Salisbury and Lisa Brooks. Having read this work multiple times and in various versions, this is the text to read, ignore all other editions! Salisbury's introductory essay gives an excellent contextualization of this work and clears up some problems and confusions found within. Furthermore, he includes a valuable set of primary source documents in the appendix and provides an intro to each explaining the document's importance to th ...more
May 30, 2014 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The introduction speaks of a modern battle between the religious right and the liberal heathens of the US. The original author is clearly a faithful puritan of Mid 17th century Massachusetts. All I wanted was a primary source prospective on Native American life and dietary habits in that area. While not focused on that topic this book did offer some tasty sounding tidbits.

Pg. 29 - "...a pancake, about as big [assumed to mean thick] as two fingers. It was made of parched wheat, beaten, and fryed
Bookend McGee
Mar 20, 2011 Bookend McGee rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: atheists and puritans!
Interesting historical document.

It would read a LOT better as interesting non-fiction had it not been so peppered by the tedious and silly Puritanical interjections.

Of course, the constant God-stuff was the only way that a woman's story would have been allowed to have been published in those sexist days.

Thank God that Puritan literature is not the norm in publishing these days!
Whitney Carlisle
Jul 14, 2016 Whitney Carlisle rated it really liked it
Shelves: textbooks
I thought this book was quite interesting. It was a little difficult to read due to the time period, and some awkward grammar. The book has a lot of embedded Biblical text, which at some points adds to the confusion. Overall, it was a fascinating account of captivity and gave an insight into not only the era, but the relationship between Native Americans and the newly immigrated populace. After reading her account I googled her, lady was tough for sure, and lead a difficult life.

Her husband die
On February 10th 1675* "came the Indians with great number upon Lancaster." Lancaster, MA at 30 miles West of Boston was a frontier town and vulnerable during King Phillip's War. There had been some anticipation of attack as the army had left the area. Mary Rowlandson, her three children, her sisters and their families and other neighbors were burned out of their garrison into a shower of bullets. 24 were taken prisoner and nearly as many killed, all were close family members or neighbors. Mary ...more
Anyone who believes the Puritans came to the New World for religious freedom really needs to rethink their beliefs. The Puritans wanted freedom for themselves to worship how they chose but they did not extend that same courtesy to others. Also, anyone who believes that slavery is a black/white issue really needs to delve into history a bit more.
Mary Rowlandson's experience was, I am sure, very harrowing for her. It is clear, however, that she neither liked nor trusted her captors in spite of the
Aug 20, 2014 PAUL VAUGHN rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Harrowing Account

A Harrowing Account

This personal story of Mrs. Rowlandson's experience with Native Americans more than 400 years ago is fascinating. Her village attacked, many settlers slain, she is captured with her wounded child, and marched into the wilderness. She links her story to Biblical verses which sustained her through. the ordeal. This book is great for history buffs, as well as those looking for inspirational writings. Additionally, the reader gets an immediate sense of the preca
Erika B. (SOS BOOKS)
An interesting account of a white woman being captured by Native Americans in 1682.
Sam Ruddick
Oct 25, 2014 Sam Ruddick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
so psychotic it's good. i mean, we don't have to agree with her to kind of like the book. i give this edition 5 stars because it's got all kinds of other crazy stuff in it, too--lists of native american children sold into slavery after the war, for example--that really complicates the issue. and the truth is that, while most of the time her writing is sort of--eh, what to say? she's not an artist. she's an amateur. but every once in a while there's a lovely passage, and the end is quite beautifu ...more
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Mrs. Mary White Rowlandson was a Puritan resident of the Massachusetts Bay Colony who was captured by Native Americans and held for 11 weeks before being ransomed in 1676. Her later memoir of these events became the first American best-seller, going through four editions in one year.
More about Mary Rowlandson...

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“It is a solemn sight to see so many Christians lying in their blood, some here, and some there, like a company of sheep torn by wolves, all of them stripped naked by a company of hell-hounds, roaring, singing, ranting, and insulting, as if they would have torn our very hearts out; yet the Lord by His almighty power preserved a number of us from death, for there were twenty-four of us taken alive and carried captive.” 1 likes
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