Tuesday, September 12, 2006

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

Nathanial Philbrick is one of the new breed of non-fiction writer, whose scholarly, meticulous work is balance with a warm readable style. In the book business, they call this "non-fiction that reads like fiction". (Clever, right?) This is a smooth narrative of the settling of Plymouth colony all the way through King Philip's War.

The author attempts to demystify the first Thanksgiving, Plymouth Rock and more importantly, the relationship between the Pilgrims and the Indians, which was far friendlier and more symbiotic than conventional wisdom leads us to believe.

In fact, it wasn't until the children of the Pilgrims grew up and started to need additional land that race relations became stressed. Eventually these tensions escalated into a needless and costly war. The male population on both sides was decimated, which left the door open to less friendly invasions by hostile Indians. Ironically, hostile Indian attacks were the very thing that the Pilgrims were trying to avoid. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in this period of American history.

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