"Vivid and remarkably fresh...Philbrick has recast the Pilgrims for the ages."--The New York Times Book Review
Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History
New York Times Book Review Top Ten books of the Year
With a new preface marking the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower.
How did America begin? That simple question launches the acclaimed author of In the Hurricane's Eye and Valiant Ambition on an extraordinary journey to understand the truth behind our most sacred national myth: the voyage of the Mayflower and the settlement of Plymouth Colony. As Philbrick reveals in this electrifying history of the Pilgrims, the story of Plymouth Colony was a fifty-five year epic that began in peril and ended in war. New England erupted into a bloody conflict that nearly wiped out the English colonists and natives alike. These events shaped the existing communites and the country that would grow from them.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Forget everything you think you know about the Pilgrims. Their story of sailing to New England aboard the Mayflower to escape religious persecution looms so large in the American consciousness, it’s a sort of myth—and historian Nathaniel Philbrick is here to bust it. In his eye-opening book, Philbrick uses meticulous research to separate fact from fiction. We were gobsmacked to learn that the first Thanksgiving wasn’t just about the Pilgrims being hungry and desperate for help from the Native Americans, it was also about them shrewdly allying themselves with the area’s most powerful tribe. In fact, Philbrick explodes the entire accepted narrative that the colonists were just a humble people looking for religious freedom, going in depth on the treacherous war the Puritans waged against the region’s indigenous peoples for two generations. Drawing on copious primary sources like letters and diaries, Mayflower strips away any idealized notions we had about the Pilgrims, and that’s okay. The truth, as it turns out, is even more impactful.
In this remarkable effort, National Book Award winner Philbrick (In the Heart of the Sea) examines the history of Plymouth Colony. In the early 17th century, a small group of devout English Christians fled their villages to escape persecution, going first to Holland, then making the now infamous 10-week voyage to the New World. Rather than arriving in the summer months as planned, they landed in November, low on supplies. Luckily, they were met by the Wampanoag Indians and their wizened chief, Massasoit. In economical, well-paced prose, Philbrick masterfully recounts the desperate circumstances of both the settlers and their would-be hosts, and how the Wampanoags saved the colony from certain destruction. Indeed, there was a first Thanksgiving, the author notes, and for over 50 years the Wampanoags and the Pilgrims lived in peace, becoming increasingly interdependent. But in 1675, 56 years after the colonists' landing, Massasoit's heir, Philip, launched a confusing war on the English that, over 14 horrifying months, claimed 5,000 lives, a huge percentage of the colonies' population. Impeccably researched and expertly rendered, Philbrick's account brings the Plymouth Colony and its leaders, including William Bradford, Benjamin Church and the bellicose, dwarfish Miles Standish, vividly to life. More importantly, he brings into focus a gruesome period in early American history. For Philbrick, this is yet another award-worthy story of survival.
Good read and a good account of the pilgrims. Not as good of a flow as "In the heart of the sea" but none the less still well written.....
Fantastic. I’ve never read a historical account type of book and I loved it.
Mayflower and much more!
Well written and thrilling account of the early New England settlers and the native Americans they replaced. Sad stories but true! A compelling read! Well done Mr. Philbrick!