Wednesday, June 09, 2010
BY NATHANIEL PHILBRICK
OVERVIEW: The oft-told tale of how the Pilgrims and the Indians celebrated the First Thanksgiving does not do justice to the history of Plymouth Colony. Instead of an inspiring tableau of tranquil cooperation, the Pilgrims' first half-century in America was more of a passion play in which vibrant, tragic, self-serving, and herioic figures struggled to preserve a precarious peace--until that peace erupted into one of the deadliest wars ever fought on American soil. The English fatalities were catastrophic, but the rebelling Indians were virtually obliterated as a people. The promise of the First Thanksgiving had given way to the horror of total war.
A hundred years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, this culminating even--King Philips War--brought into disturbing focus the issues of race, violence, religious identity, and economic opportunity that came to define America's inexorable push west. But as the Pilgrims came to understand, war was not inevitable. It would be left to their children and grandchildren to discover the terrifying enormity of what is lost when two peoples give up on the difficult work of living together.
More than 375 years later, in a world that is growing more complicated and dangerous by the day, the story of the Mayflower still has much to teach us. --Nathaniel Philbrick
AUTHOR: Nathaniel Philbrick is the author of the New York Times bestseller In the Heart of the Sea, which won the National Book Award, and Sea of Glory: The Epic South Seas Expedition, 1838-1842,winner of the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize. he has lived on Nantucket Island since 1986.
MY REVIEW: In the fall of 2009 my wife, daughter and I had the wonderful experience of visiting in New England. Our time spent at Plymouth, Massachusetts was one of the highlights of the trip. We saw Plymouth rock, a replica of the Mayflower and visited Plymouth Plantation. That's when I first saw the book, Mayflower. I didn't buy it then but later after returning home. I am so glad I did. The simple question, "How Did America Begin?" launched acclaimed author Nathaniel Philbrick 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. I loved this book. And if you are interested in the history of our great country--you will too.