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John Winthrop: America's Forgotten Founding Father
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John Winthrop: America's Forgotten Founding Father

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  56 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
John Winthrop's effort to create a Puritan "City on a Hill" has had a lasting effect on American values, and many remember this phrase famously quoted by the late Ronald Reagan. However, most know very little about the first American to speak these words. In John Winthrop, Francis J. Bremer draws on over a decade of research in England, Ireland, and the United States to of ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2003)
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May 14, 2015 Jennifer rated it liked it
This is a very well researched book which is not only a biography of John Winthrop, who was instrumental in the successful settling of Boston, but is also a church history of England. Unlike most Protestant reformations which were within the religious community, the Church of England was begun for political and personal reasons by Henry VIII. The Puritan movement was birthed in an atmosphere of religious and political unrest in England, and migrated to America to ensure their freedom of worship. ...more
Steven Paul
Oct 23, 2014 Steven Paul rated it it was amazing
I'm not a patriot. I dislike the whole "We love American Patriot" literary genre. Thankfully, this was not that. This is the best historical research I've seen thus far on John Winthrop. The degree of background research done by Bremer should be applauded. Amazing read. Winthrop was a British Puritan, so please don't let him be hijacked by the Tea Party.
Oct 12, 2012 Ann rated it really liked it
This was an interesting look inside the mind of one of our pivotal founding fathers. I was impressed with the level of detail presented, particularly about Winthrop's life and his motivation to come to the New World. The second half of the book was a slower slog - as the author delved in to the distinctions between puritans, separatists, autonomists, etc., etc. One thing that surprised me was the level of religious intolerance in the early colony - ironic because 'freedom of religion' is cherish ...more
Christy Robinson
Dec 01, 2011 Christy Robinson rated it really liked it
I've seen this book referenced in much of the research I'm doing for my own historical novel on a related subject: Mary Barrett Dyer, the Quaker martyr.

I'm not usually nitpicky about other people's books, and am generally trusting of their scholarship, BUT... I did find a mistake near the end of the narrative, regarding Winthrop's fourth wife, Martha Rainsborough Coytmore. The child she had with Gov. Winthrop died in 1651, so she had no descendants; in addition, she was not considered worthy of
Bremer does a good job of explaining how John Winthrop helped shape colonial Massachusetts civil and religious authority, as well as how Winthrop's ideas grew out of 16th century English and puritan practices. The first few chapters provide background on Winthrop's English ancestors and -- since everyone seems to be named Adam, John, or William -- are somewhat confusing if you're reading just a few pages at a time. Once Bremer moves on to Winthrop's life things are a bit easier to follow. Howeve ...more
Kw Bray
Sep 06, 2015 Kw Bray rated it liked it
Excessive detail from the reformation on. I wish it would have went deeper into everyday life of the settlers. Concentrated on the political aspects of life in the 1630's. Lots of great information.
Apr 16, 2008 Jennifer rated it liked it
Recommends it for: my Dad
Shelves: american-history
I thought that this book gave great insite to the life of John Winthrop, the policital times he lived in, and the struggles with the English in the early 1600's. The book followed a logical format, starting with his ancestors in England and ending with his life in "the new land." The book was a bit repatitive and I found myself losing my place often. Overall a good book biography.
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Francis J. Bremer is Emeritus Professor of History at Millersville University.
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