Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick
A Story of Courage, Community, and War

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Synopsis

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.

The Mayflower's religious refugees arrived in Plymouth Harbor during a period of crisis for Native Americans as disease spread by European fishermen devastated their populations. Initially the two groups—the Wampanoags, under the charismatic and calculating chief Massasoit, and the Pilgrims, whose pugnacious military officer Miles Standish was barely five feet tall—maintained a fragile working relationship. But within decades, New England would erupt into King Philip's War, a savagely bloody conflict that nearly wiped out English colonists and natives alike and forever altered the face of the fledgling colonies and the country that would grow from them.

With towering figures like William Bradford and the distinctly American hero Benjamin Church at the center of his narrative, Philbrick has fashioned a fresh and compelling portrait of the dawn of American history—a history dominated right from the start by issues of race, violence, and religion.

 

About Nathaniel Philbrick

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Nathaniel Philbrick, is a leading authority on the history of Nantucket Island. His In the Heart of the Sea won the National Book Award. His latest book is Sea of Glory, about the epic U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838–1842. His other books include Away off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People, 1602-1890 (which Russell Baker called "indispensable") and Abram's Eyes: The Native American Legend of Nantucket Island ("a classic of historical truthtelling," according to Stuart Frank, director of the Kendall Whaling Museum). He has written an introduction to a new edition of Joseph Hart's Miriam Coffin, or The Whale Fisherman, a Nantucket novel (first published in 1834) that Melville relied upon for information about the island when writing Moby Dick.Philbrick, a champion sailboat racer, has also written extensively about sailing, including The Passionate Sailor (1987) and the forthcoming Second Wind: A Sunfish Sailor's Odyssey. He was editor in chief of the classic Yaahting: A Parody (1984).In his role as director of the Egan Institute of Maritime Studies, Philbrick, who is also a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association, gives frequent talks about Nantucket and sailing. He has appeared on "NBC Today Weekend", A&E's "Biography" series, and National Public Radio and has served as a consultant for the movie "Moby Dick", shown on the USA Network. He received a bachelor of Arts from Brown University and a Master of Arts in American Literature from Duke. He lives on Natucket with his wife and two children.
 
Published May 9, 2006 by Viking Adult. 480 pages
Genres: History, War, Professional & Technical, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Mayflower

Kirkus Reviews

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As more settlers arrived wanting land, tensions increased and finally the King Philip’s War ensued, causing the death of about 70 percent of local Indians and eight percent of male colonists.

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Kirkus Reviews

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Prominent roles are assigned to such well-known names as Squanto, Samoset, Massasoit and his son Philip, who (with the help of obtuse Governor Josiah Winslow) touched off the regional war that bears his name.

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The New York Times

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In his startling new version of the Mayflower story, Nathaniel Philbrick finds striking parallels with the present day.

May 04 2006 | Read Full Review of Mayflower: A Story of Courage...

The New York Times

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Nathaniel Philbrick retells the founding story, with emphasis on relationships with the Native Americans.

Jun 04 2006 | Read Full Review of Mayflower: A Story of Courage...

The Guardian

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Mayflower: A Voyage to War by Nathaniel Philbrick HarperCollins, £20, pp480 History is at its most potent when the lessons of yesterday flow naturally into today.

Jun 11 2006 | Read Full Review of Mayflower: A Story of Courage...

The Guardian

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Mayflower: A Voyage to War by Nathaniel Philbrick 461pp, Harper Press, £20 All nations produce myths of their unique origins, and these are usually comforting.

Jul 22 2006 | Read Full Review of Mayflower: A Story of Courage...

Publishers Weekly

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Such leading figures as William Bradford, Benjamin Church and Miles Standish of the so-called Plymouth Colony (which was not even close to Plymouth or its now-famous rock) emerge from the pages of history as understandable if not always admirable figures, and Guidall's evocations of the sadly dep...

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Book Reporter

When we think of the Pilgrims, it's Thanksgiving that comes to mind --- placid people with big buckles on their shoes, dining once a year with two or three Indians.

Jan 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Mayflower: A Story of Courage...

USA Today

He provided invaluable help to the Pilgrims, in part because he had political ambitions.The genuine bonds that developed between Massasoit's tribe and the Pilgrims were frayed, then broken, by distrust, a hunger for land among the Pilgrims' offspring, and tribal tensions.

May 18 2006 | Read Full Review of Mayflower: A Story of Courage...

Portland Book Review

I bet you will find something that will interest you wp.me/P2DwkQ-bv0 5 stars for a cleverly devised mystery set in PDX a must read for the tween reader in your family wp.me/p2DwkQ-cmT http://t.co/FN0NuUFC Nathaniel Philbrick is the winner of the National Book Award for his nonfiction wo...

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Bookmarks Magazine

… No one who reads Philbrick will ever feel comfortable calling Plymouth Rock ‘a symbol of the imperishable ideals upon which the new nation had been founded.’" David Gates Washington Post 4 of 5 Stars "[Philbrick] appears to bring no bias to his work except a desire to get as close to the t...

Aug 29 2007 | Read Full Review of Mayflower: A Story of Courage...

KidsReads

Terrible as these deaths were to the colonists, the Indians were to suffer even graver losses, with 60-80% of the Native American population of southern New England lost during those and subsequent years through death, disease, being sold into slavery, or by fleeing the region.

Oct 15 2009 | Read Full Review of Mayflower: A Story of Courage...

The Gospel Coalition

The "slacker" descriptor seems to apply to Gen Y as much, if not more, than it does to Gen X.… Read More

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