The Wordy Shipmates

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Penguin, Oct 7, 2008 - History - 272 pages
69 Reviews
From the author of Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, The Wordy Shipmates is New York Times bestselling author Sarah Vowell's exploration of the Puritans and their journey to America to become the people of John Winthrop's "city upon a hill," a shining example, a "city that cannot be hid."

To this day, America views itself as a Puritan nation, but Vowell investigates what that means? and what it should mean. What was this great political enterprise all about? Who were these people who are considered the philosophical, spiritual, and moral ancestors of our nation? What Vowell discovers is something far different from what their uptight shoe-buckles-and- corn reputation might suggest. The people she finds are highly literate, deeply principled, and surprisingly feisty. Their story is filled with pamphlet feuds, witty courtroom dramas, and bloody vengeance. Along the way she asks:

*Was Massachusetts Bay Colony governor John Winthrop a communitarian, a Christlike Christian, or conformity?s tyrannical enforcer? Answer: Yes!
*Was Rhode Island?s architect, Roger Williams, America?s founding freak or the father of the First Amendment? Same difference.
*What does it take to get that jezebel Anne Hutchinson to shut up? A hatchet.
*What was the Puritans? pet name for the Pope? The Great Whore of Babylon.

Sarah Vowell?s special brand of armchair history makes the bizarre and esoteric fascinatingly relevant and fun. She takes us from the modern-day reenactment of an Indian massacre to the Mohegan Sun casino, from old-timey Puritan poetry, where ?righteousness? is rhymed with ?wilderness,? to a Mayflower-themed waterslide. Throughout, The Wordy Shipmates is rich in historical fact, humorous insight, and social commentary by one of America?s most celebrated voices. Thou shalt enjoy it.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Cheryl_in_CC_NV - LibraryThing

Ok, I'm a bleedin' heart polyamorous atheist myself - but the ideology in this book was so far left, so biased, that it made me have to work hard to find nuggets of actual history here.  But wait ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - BooksOn23rd - LibraryThing

I laughed only twice...I didn't realize that the book was only a study of Puritanism. I was hoping for more about the everyday life in 1630's Boston. ~Stephanie Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

The only thing more dangerous than
This book is about those Puritans
Talking about Winthrops
At the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston
In 1635 Williamss surging obsession
As Williams points out in a letter to John Endecott
On our Plymouthbound vacation
In September of 1637
One hundred and seventy years after
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About the author (2008)

Sarah Vowell is the bestselling author of The Wordy Shipmates, Assassination Vacation, The Partly Cloudy Patriot, Take the Cannoli, and Radio On. A contributing editor for public radio’s "This American Life", she lives in New York City.

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