From the perilous ocean crossing to the shared bounty of the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrim settlement of New England has become enshrined as our most sacred national myth. Yet, as bestselling author Nathaniel Philbrick reveals in his spellbinding new book, the true story of the Pilgrims is much more than the well-known tale of piety and sacrifice; it is a fifty-five-year epic that is at once tragic, heroic, exhilarating, and profound
I love history, especially American history. That wasn’t always the case though. Oh sure, in ninth grade I got an A+ in Mr. Kuelb’s history class, but he was an easy teacher and he offered lots of extra credit.
By high school, more than once I had fallen asleep in class. I hated it. At that age, I don’t really think you can understand the significant role of our forefathers in our lives. At seventeen, history is too far in the past to warrant your attention. That’s why I think an American History course should be mandatory…for forty year olds. By then you know enough to understand its importance.
But enough rambling. What did I think of the book? Well…it was good! not fantastic, but it was well worth the time I spent reading it. I learned a lot about the Pilgrims and the Puritans and the violence in the lives of these Christian peoples. I think I learned even more, however, about the Pokanokets, Massachusetts, and Naragansett indians though.
It’s true the Pilgrims would not have made it through their first winter if it hadn’t been for the indian sachem Massasoit. Starving, weak and ravaged by disease they were losing up to 3 people a day from the small group who had traveled all the way from Leidener, Holland to be able to worship in their own way.
It’s also true that Massasoit relied heavily on the Pilgrims as well. Trading with the Pilgrims they were able to try new foods (they didn’t like mustard) and advance in weaponry from the bow and arrow. But soon the New Englander’s greed for more and more of the indian’s land started to cause problems among Massasoit’s tribe and neighboring tribes as well.
Within half a century the Pilgrims and Puritans had so incited the rage of the natives that a war was imminent. Many lives were lost in the bloody battles on both sides.
War is not something I like to read about so the last third of the book dragged a little for me, but all in all Mayflower was an interesting account of the people responsible for one of my favorite holidays. 3/5 stars
Lisa at Buttery Books was the person who turned me onto this book. Thanks Lisa!