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Mayflower: A Voyage to War [Hardcover]

Nathaniel Philbrick
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Jun 2006

Bestselling author Nathaniel Philbrick’s new book tells the story of the Pilgrim fathers who set sail on the Mayflower and the bloody battle they ultimately waged against the Native Americans.

Behind the quaint and pious version of the Mayflower story usually taught in American primary schools is a tumultuous and largely untold tale of violence, subterfuge and epic drama.

Following the Pilgrims from their perilous journey from England on a battered, leaky ship, through their first bitter North American winter (during which half of them died), to their equally bitter battle against the native Wampanoag tribe fifty years later, Philbrick paints a vivid and compelling picture of conflict, colonialism and a grim determination to survive in an unforgiving and, to the Europeans, dangerously alien environment.

Among the litany of hardships, however, are stories of friendship and co-operation among the settlers and indigenous peoples, whose timely assistance on more than one occasion rescued the Pilgrims from otherwise certain death. This delicate and unstable relationship continued until King Philip's war, a terribly bloody conflict which decimated the English population and all but obliterated the Wampanoag. Central to the story of this decisive American battle are a host of marvellous characters, including Benjamin Church, the Plymouth-born frontiersman who used his knowledge of 'Indian ways' to help the British defeat Philip.

In capturing the drama and uncertainty of the first fifty years of settlement at Plymouth, Philbrick's fascinating history sets the stage for the later developments that would define the American nation and its inexorable push west.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPress; 1st edition (5 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007151276
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007151271
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 15.4 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 593,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘Philbrick's account brings the Plymouth Colony and its leaders, including William Bradford, Benjamin Church and the bellicose, dwarfish Miles Standish, vividly to life. More importantly, he brings into focus a gruesome period in early American history. For Philbrick, this is yet another award-worthy story of survival.’ Publishers Weekly

‘Nathaniel Philbrick breathes fresh life into this familiar tale…as a lively account of the Pilgrims' flight from England to Holland and then to New England, “Mayflower” could hardly be bettered.’ Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Nathaniel Philbrick is a historian and broadcaster who has written extensively about sailing. He is director of the Egan Institute of Maritime Studies on Nantucket Island, and a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association. He has lived in Nantucket with his wife and two children since 1986.


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First Sentence
For sixty-five days, the Mayflower had blundered her way through storms and headwinds, her bottom a shaggy pelt of seaweed and barnacles, her leaky decks spewing salt water onto her passengers' devoted heads. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not your father's Pilgrims. 31 July 2007
By maya j
Format:Paperback
I wasn't sure what to expect from 'Mayflower'. It had been rated as one of the best books of the year by a number of book sellers, but sometimes reading an historical novel can be quite dry and boring- who knew it could be this interesting!

To begin with, I am certain so much of what is written in this book is unknown to most people. The story of the Pilgrims has become so commonplace and hackneyed that I don't think many of us even realize what the Pilgrims were really trying to accomplish by immigrating to North America. This book puts to rest any misconceptions, romantic notions or misperceptions about this group of people called the Pilgrims. It attests to the brutal nature of the world during that time and the sometimes-horrible things a people must do to survive. The fact that any of the Pilgrims actually lived through their first few winters on this continent is truly amazing and speaks to their strong stock.

'Mayflower' begins by documenting the decisions faced by these people in England to start their lives over again in a totally different "world". Freedom of religion was their most overriding reason for wanting to begin anew. They needed a place to live and worship free from persecution. The horrific voyage and their landing on the North American shore are all laid out very vividly, and there are side stories and anecdotes about the people and their families, making it possible to have a real connection to the story. In writing about the Native American tribes in the area surrounding Plymouth Colony, it is obvious Nathaniel Philbrick has done his homework. He speaks in excruciating detail about these tribes, their leaders and particularly about their wartime strategies and nomadic ways.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pilgrim Warriors 8 Feb 2007
Format:Hardcover
An excellent account of the first half century plus of the settlement of New England. We start with the Pilgrims leaving Lincolnshire for Holland seeking freedom to worship God according to their consciences. We learn of life in Holland and the hazardous decision to cross the ocean. Here their sufferings began. The ocean voyage was bad enough but being tricked by the captain of the second boat was among the other hazards.

As is well known, survival oh a hostile coast was only possible thanks to the co-operation of the friendly local inhabitants. It was a miracle that they survived the first winter. These people were like Cromwell, providentialists, who believed that God was watching over them by his providence. I do not think the author shares their faith but he writes with a sympathetic understanding of it including how the next generation lacked the vital faith of their fathers so later Puritans had the Half Way Covenant rather than requiring credible profession faith from church members.

Philbrick writes well. The book reads like an adventure story at times, especially during the hostilities of King Philip's war when the proportion of the population lost was far higher than any other war on U.S. soil. We also hear that the settler's victory was in part due to the help they received from Praying Indians, converts from the missionary work of John Eliot. The author is thankfully free from the modern trend of political correctness which would view Native Americans as saints and Pilgrims as rapacious colonisers. This is a fair treatment of the good and bad in both communities.I found it a moving read, especially when one read what William Bradford wrote late in life.

Fear not, poor soul, in God still trust,

Fear not the things thou suffer must;

For, whom he loves, he doth chastise,

And then all tears wipes from their eyes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unraveling a Myth 18 Oct 2007
By Bentley
Format:Hardcover
" Wherever they first set foot on the American continent, it wasn't Plymouth, and it certainly wasn't Plymouth Rock. The first Thanksgiving (in 1621) was indeed attended by Indians as well as Pilgrims, but they didn't sit at the tidy table depicted in Victorian popular art; they "stood, squatted, or sat on the ground as they clustered around outdoor fires, where the deer and birds turned on wooden spits and where pottages -- stews into which varieties of meats and vegetables were thrown -- simmered invitingly."

- Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick

How many of us grew up with myths about the Pilgrims and about the first Thanksgiving? We all believed that the Pilgrims and the Indians sat at a beautiful table laden with turkey, cranberries and all of the fixings. Not only was that not the case, they certainly didn't set foot on Plymouth Rock.

Philbrick puts these myths to rest. And he tells us about the beginning of our new country and what was the basis for its foundation. Our myths contained stories about Massasoit and Squanto, Bradford and Winslow and, of course, Miles Standish.

One of the major accounts in the book was that of the King Philip's War. We learned that it really did not have to be. Both sides could have developed solutions which respected the goodness in each other as well as the differences.

We learned about how the Indians were shipped off to foreign places during this war and were separated from all of their families and tribes....never to be heard from again (having been made slaves). Only a few ever made it back like Squanto, for example.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit dull
I thoroughly enjoyed the first part of this book which explains why the pilgrims came to America and how they set their society up. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mr Gordon Davidson
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
Quick service and a book that was in excellent condition, Nathaniel Philbrick always makes a good read regardless of the subject.
Published 4 months ago by steve Jackson
4.0 out of 5 stars Shatters a fair few myths about the Pilgrim Fathers...
I've always enjoyed Nathaniel Philbrick's books; he has a way of turning complicated history into an engaging narrative, and this book on the Pilgrim Fathers is no exception. Read more
Published 11 months ago by C. Ball
4.0 out of 5 stars The "real" Thanksgiving
Every American knows the story of the Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving. A group of Puritans escaping religious persecution set sail for America and land on Plymouth Rock. Read more
Published 18 months ago by R Helen
4.0 out of 5 stars Thanksgiving: the "real" story
Every American knows the story of the Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving. A group of Puritans escaping religious persecution set sail for America and land on Plymouth Rock. Read more
Published 22 months ago by R Helen
4.0 out of 5 stars A Story of Settlers and Indians
"Mayflower" is the story, not just of a ship and the Pilgrims who sailed on it, but of a Pilgrim people, those who followed them, the Natives with whom they met and interacted and... Read more
Published 23 months ago by James Gallen
5.0 out of 5 stars pilgrims
This excellent book gives a good account of the trials and tribulations that happened before and after the sailing ,in 1620, of the Mayflower with its Pilgrim passengers. Read more
Published on 29 Mar 2012 by G. I. Forbes
5.0 out of 5 stars Colonial History - The unedited version
Following the group of English separatists, that would become to be known as the Pilgrims. From their exile firstly to Amsterdam, then Leiden, Holland. Read more
Published on 21 Jan 2012 by Sue-A
5.0 out of 5 stars a truly great book
This is a terrific book, with real (and surprising) insight into the creation and settlement of a New World, a new European civilisation. Read more
Published on 3 Jan 2012 by L. Quigley
4.0 out of 5 stars Colonial mis-management.
Don't expect to be entertained, but DO expect to be educated and enlightened - this is all I expected and more ... Read more
Published on 14 Mar 2011 by A. J. Watson
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