Mayflower Lives: Pilgrims in a New World and the Early American Experience

Martyn Whittock. Pegasus, $28.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-64313-132-0
Historian and BBC consultant Whittock (When God Was King) pays homage to the upcoming 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s 1620 voyage with this slightly unfocused group biography. Using as a lens the lives of more than a dozen people associated with the ship, he explores religion, politics, economics, romance and family life, crime, and relations with Native Americans in the Plymouth settlement. Whittock looks at the Pilgrims’ religious faith in chapters on William Bradford and William Brewster. Four-year-old Mary More’s brief existence occasions a discussion of patriarchal norms: convinced that Mary and her three siblings, all under the age of eight, weren’t his biological children, Samuel More sent them off to America as indentured servants—and only one survived. Chapters on Squanto—an Algonquian who was kidnapped, taken to England, and returned before the Pilgrims arrived—and militia commander Myles Standish take up the often contentious relationships between native people and the new arrivals. The book’s organizing principle, one life per chapter, is dispensed with toward the end for a chapter on a love story and one on a variety of social rebels, and a somewhat simplistic conclusion lauds the colonists’ devoutness and courage. Readers looking for an introduction to the Pilgrims will be adequately served; others may come away unsatisfied. Illus. Agent: Robert Dudley, Robert Dudley Agency. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 04/24/2019
Release date: 08/06/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-68457-318-9
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