Read Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick Free Online
Book Title: Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War|
The author of the book: Nathaniel Philbrick
Edition: Penguin Audio
Date of issue: May 9th 2006
ISBN 13: 9780143058885
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 427 KB
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Reader ratings: 4.3
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I have to admit, I am one of those naïve Americans that has walked around in a bit of a fantasy land when it comes to the history of Plymouth and the Pilgrims. From grade school, I knew they desired freedom to worship their religion without persecution. In order to do so, they faced a difficult journey aboard the Mayflower prior to landing on the shores of New England. There’s a giant rock on which they must have set foot after disembarking from the ship. I know the Pilgrims struggled to survive and the Native Americans came to their rescue. They celebrated the First Thanksgiving with the Native Americans, a holiday which we now sit down to every November in order to indulge and give thanks. Well, that’s it in a nutshell, right? Or so I believed! Nathaniel Philbrick, however, has set me straight and enlightened me way more than I could ever have imagined!
Mayflower is extremely well researched and undeniably well-written. However, it is quite dense with very detailed information regarding much more than the voyage of the Mayflower and the original settlement of Plymouth colony. Philbrick takes us beyond those years through the next couple of generations and presents a factual account of the violent and bloody wars fought between the New Englanders and the Native Americans. The first Thanksgiving most certainly did not end in a ‘happily ever after’ situation. There were numerous conflicts, various alliances between the New Englanders and Native Americans, and treachery. I was often quite shocked to learn of the behavior exhibited by some of the Pilgrims’ descendants. It wasn’t very pretty and not something I feel proud to claim as part of my American heritage. Speaking of heritage, Philbrick tells us that "In 2002 it was estimated that there were approximately 35 million descendants of the Mayflower passengers in the United States, which represents roughly 10 percent of the total U.S. population." Philbrick, however, does tell us the good with the bad and we also learn of some of the more upstanding descendants. Little tidbits of facts like this were what I enjoyed most about the book. It helped me slog through some of the more textbook-like sections when I knew I might find a little nugget of information I could perhaps read aloud to my husband – or maybe even share with the family at our Thanksgiving gathering in a couple of weeks from now. I may hesitate to share this view though - "Fifty-six years after the sailing of the Mayflower, the Pilgrims’ children had not only defeated the Pokanokets in a devastating war, they had taken conscious, methodical measures to purge the land of its people." Perhaps we will have to seriously indulge a bit before smashing the myth all to bits! My favorite little chronicle was one which involved Captain Benjamin Church, principal aide to Plymouth’s governor, Josiah Winslow. During one of the final skirmishes of King Philip’s War, several Native Americans were taken as captives. When Church asked one of the older captives his name, he was answered with ‘Conscience’. Philbrick tells us that Church replied, "Conscience, then the war is over, for that was what they were searching for, it being much wanting." Indeed!
I found this to be a worthwhile read, although a bit dry throughout the middle to last sections of the book. Last year I read Philbrick’s In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex and found it to be immensely entertaining and quite effortless. It read much like fiction, and so I expected much of the same with Mayflower. However, in my opinion, this was more like the sort of non-fiction book from which I previously steered away – one which presents copious facts and dates to the extent that I feel like I am back in school. Some readers that enjoy a myriad of detail will quite enjoy this. History buffs should have no complaints since Philbrick has done his job well here. Since I did enjoy parts of this book and am grateful to be considerably more educated on the topic of the Pilgrims and King Philip’s War, I have rated Mayflower 3.5 stars.
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Read information about the authorPhilbrick was Brown’s first Intercollegiate All-American sailor in 1978; that year he won the Sunfish North Americans in Barrington, RI; today he and his wife Melissa sail their Beetle Cat Clio and their Tiffany Jane 34 Marie-J in the waters surrounding Nantucket Island.
After grad school, Philbrick worked for four years at Sailing World magazine; was a freelancer for a number of years, during which time he wrote/edited several sailing books, including Yaahting: A Parody (1984), for which he was the editor-in-chief; during this time he was also the primary caregiver for his two children. After moving to Nantucket in 1986, he became interested in the history of the island and wrote Away Off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People. He was offered the opportunity to start the Egan Maritime Institute in 1995, and in 2000 he published In the Heart of the Sea, followed by Sea of Glory, in 2003, and Mayflower. He is presently at work on a book about the Battle of Little Big Horn.
Mayflower was a finalist for both the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in History and the Los Angeles Times Book Award and was winner of the Massachusetts Book Award for nonfiction. In the Heart of the Sea won the National Book Award for nonfiction; Revenge of the Whale won a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award; Sea of Glory won the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize and the Albion-Monroe Award from the National Maritime Historical Society. Philbrick has also received the Byrne Waterman Award from the Kendall Whaling Museum, the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for distinguished service from the USS Constitution Museum, the Nathaniel Bowditch Award from the American Merchant Marine Museum, the William Bradford Award from the Pilgrim Society, the Boston History Award from the Bostonian Society, and the New England Book Award from the New England Independent Booksellers Association.
from his website
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