Iowa City Public Library's Reviews > Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War

Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick
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's review
Jul 21, 2010

bookshelves: history, anne, staff-picks-blog, nonfiction

In 1620, one hundred and two Pilgrims arrived on the Massachusetts coastline. They intended to create a new political and religious settlement in the new world that was separate from the Church of England. However, their plan was easier said than done. Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower follows the story of death, determination, and regional power play that is the true story of the Pilgrims.

Philbrick focuses on two people, first generation Governor William Bradford and second generation Captain Benjamin Church. Both Bradford’s and Church’s lives provide an understanding of the challenges facing Plymouth Colony, highlighting the most significant issue: its relationship with the Native tribes. What started out as a somewhat accordant understanding in the 1620′s, the relationship between Plymouth Colony and the neighboring tribes turned into a brutal war in the 1670′s. Philbrick does not give a one-sided narrative. He provides an understanding of the various tribes in the region, such as the Pokanoket, Narragansett, and Nauset and their relationship to each other. He also discusses the role of individuals in the region, including Squanto, Massasoit, and Metacom.

This is a great book. Philbrick writes an interesting narrative that keeps the pages turning to the end. With Thanksgiving in a few weeks, pick up a copy of the Mayflower. Interestingly enough, the Pilgrims would have hated the idea of a yearly Thanksgiving. Days of Thanksgiving were earned. In times of bad fortune, they had state-sanctioned days of fasting. Imagine days of fasting every time the Dow goes down. --Anne

From ICPL Staff Picks Blog

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