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Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War
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Archive: Other Books > Mayfower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick - 4 stars

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Joy D | 4605 comments Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick - 4 stars

Non-fiction about the Pilgrims, including their journey to form a religious colony in New England, the first Thanksgiving, the early years of the Plymouth settlement and how they survived, and their relationships with the Indians, which were friendly at first, but deteriorated into war in subsequent generations. The first half of the book focuses on the arrival at Plymouth, the strong personalities of the inhabitants, and establishment of the colony, and the second half follows the next generations into King Philip’s War (1675-1677), an episode not often covered in our history classes, which set a sad precedent for how race relations between the settlers and the native population would proceed well into the nineteenth century.

This book clears up numerous myths, which unfortunately continue to be perpetuated in elementary schools around America. We often skip from the Jamestown and Plymouth settlements to the American Revolution but miss a good bit of history in between. This book attempts to fill part of this gap. I thought the first half of the book flowed easily, while the second half gets extremely detailed in a blow-by-blow account of the King Philip’s war. I felt Philbrick did a good job of showing the motivations of the primary players, which I appreciated, especially considering the lengthy passage of time.

Philbrick provides depth to this period in history through thorough research, logical assumptions, and direct story-telling, albeit limited by the dearth of source material, particularly of the native people. The author illuminates the complexities of the period in an informative and enlightening manner that gave me a deeper appreciation of era. The book includes an extensive bibliography, notes on each chapter, and remarkable maps. Content warnings include descriptions of executions, ritual torture, and other war-related violence. Recommended to readers of early American history.

Link to my review of this book:

I can also recommend another of Philbrick's books: In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex (my review:

Booknblues | 6848 comments I enjoyed this book as well. Philbrick is a pretty reliable historical nonfiction author

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments I liked this one too, but I remember that it felt exceptionally dry at the time. Even for a nonfiction book. But, it was very informative and was something I had not known much about!

I liked In the Heart of the Sea better. Man, that was a crazy story! I always say I am going to read more Philbrick but I have not yet. Perhaps this is the year...

Sara (mootastic1) | 770 comments I really enjoyed this book. I didn't find any of it dry, but I'm a student of history and my focus is the American colonial period leading into the Revolutionary War.

Joy D | 4605 comments I didn't find it dry. In fact, I flew through it, but thought it got a bit more detailed in the second half.

message 6: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason Oliver | 2098 comments Adding to TBR

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