Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War

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Penguin, 2006 - History - 461 pages
978 Reviews

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.


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Wonderful book, well researched and well written. - Goodreads
Not the best of history writing. - Goodreads
Very interesting and easy to read. - Goodreads
The book is easy to read and informative. - Goodreads
Fascinating story and terrific writing. - Goodreads
This was so well-researched and interesting. - Goodreads

Review: Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War

User Review  - Dede - Goodreads

This book definitely helped me appreciate a part of history I haven't understood well. The Pilgrims had a great beginning with the Mayflower Compact, and a means to govern many diverse groups. I ... Read full review

Review: Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War

User Review  - Dan - Goodreads

As a big fan of early American historical fiction, I decided to take a chance with a straight history book (eg no fiction) and turned back the clock a bit to learn something about the Pilgrims and the ... Read full review

All 12 reviews »


two Dangerous Shoals and Roaring Breakers
three Into the Void
seven Thanksgiving
e1ght The Wall
ten One Small Candle
eleven The Ancient Mother
twelve The Trial
thIrteen Kindling the Flame
fourteen The God of Armies
epIlogue Conscience
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About the author (2006)

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. Phillbick's Why Read Moby-Dick? was a finalist for the New England Society Book Award.

Philbrick, a champion sailboat racer, has also written extensively about sailing, including The Passionate Sailor (1987) and 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.

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