Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War
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"Vivid and remarkably fresh...Philbrick has recast the Pilgrims for the ages."
--The New York Times Book Review
Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history
New York Times Book Review Top Ten books of the Year
How did America begin? That simple question launches the acclaimed author of Bunker Hill and Valiant Ambition on an extraordinary journey to understand the truth behind our most sacred national myth: the voyage of the Mayflower and the settlement of Plymouth Colony. As Philbrick reveals in this electrifying history of the Pilgrims, the story of Plymouth Colony was a fifty-five year epic that began in peril and ended in war. New England erupted into a bloody conflict that nearly wiped out the English colonists and natives alike. These events shaped the existing communites and the country that would grow from them.
“they chose or rather conﬁrmed, Mr. John Carver (a man godly and well approved amongst them) their Governor for that year.” In the meantime, Master Jones guided the Mayﬂower into Provincetown Harbor, one of the largest and safest natural anchorages in New England. Tucked within the curled wrist of the Cape, the harbor is a vast watery amphitheater as many as four miles across in some sections. Jones estimated that it could accommodate at least a thousand ships. But on the morning of November 11,
Richard Britteridge passed away, followed two days later by Christopher Martin’s stepson Solomon Prower. On Friday morning Mary Allerton gave birth to a stillborn son. Not until Saturday, December 23, were they able to transport a work party from the Mayﬂower to shore. With their axes and saws they felled trees and carried the timber to the building site. The fact that Monday, December 25, was Christmas Day meant little to the Pilgrims, who believed that religious celebrations of this sort were a
mastiff to do her best to defend them. All that night they paced back and forth at the foot of a tree, trying to keep warm in the freezing darkness. They still had the sickles they had used to cut thatch, and with each wail of the cougars, they gripped their sickles a little tighter. The mastiff wanted desperately to chase whatever was out there in the woods, so they took turns restraining the huge dog by her collar. At daybreak, they once again set out in search of the settlement. The terrain
way effect it; . . . therefore I advise you never to contend with the English, nor make war with them.” At some point, Massasoit’s powwows appear to have made a similar recommendation. The powwows were not the only ones who weighed in on the issue of what to do with the Pilgrims. There was also Squanto. Ever since the appearance of the Mayﬂower, the former captive had begun to work his own kind of magic on Massasoit, insisting that the worst thing he could do was to attack the Pilgrims. Not only
best to quell the Indians’ suspicions, he explained, he was going to kill as many of them as he could. With the completion of the mission, the settlers could either return with him to Plymouth or take the Swan up to Maine. Standish had even brought along some corn to sustain them during their voyage east. It was their hunger, not their fear of the Indians, that was the chief concern of Weston’s men. It was not surprising, then, that they quickly embraced Standish’s plan, since it meant they would