MAYFLOWER: a STORY OF COURAGE, COMMUNITY AND WAR by Nathaniel Philbrick

Mayflower  Geez, this thing even has a number of study guides available.  And to think I read it all on my little own.  haha  It is the account of the Pilgrims and the Puritans and the first century in the new land, with emphasis on the first 75 years.

I found it a compelling read. It is a 56 year intergenerational saga of discovery, accommodation, community, and war — a pattern that was repeated time and time again as the United States worked its way west and ultimately, out into the world.

The settlement started out with accommodation on both sides, and the first settlers would not have survived at all without the help of the native peoples.  But as their numbers increased,  conflict grew.

Both sides had begun to envision a future that did not include the other.

In the end, both sides wanted what the Pilgrims had been looking for in 1620: a place unfettered by obligations to others.  But from the moment Massasoit decided to become the Pilgrims’ ally, New England belonged to no single group.

In 1674, a war  began which divided the Native population, and pitted Indian against settler, and Indian against Indian as well.  King Philip’s War — the 14 bloody months between June 1675 and August 1676 had a vast, disturbing impact on the development of New England and with it, all of America.

The peace-loving Pilgrims who only wanted a place to worship as they wished, ended up becoming bloody soldiers and slavers,  in contradiction to their stated original purpose.

This is a scholarly, well researched book that gives us an unvarnished look at what life was really like for the settlers of the Plymouth Colony for the first 100 years, and believe me, it wasn’t pretty.  But it is what we need to know.  And yes, there was a first Thanksgiving feast with the Pilgrims and the Indians.  But there was so much more to the story.

Making Haste From Babylon gave us an in-depth account of the time before the sailing of the Mayflower, the politics and machinations that occurred to get the settlers to the New World.  Mayflower  is what happens after they land.

A really compelling read, and I recommend reading both books if you have an interest in this period of American History.

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