Mayflower

Nathaniel Philbrick

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. For amidst the friendships and co-operation that sprang up between the settlers and indigenous people, whose timely assistance on more than one occasion rescued the Pilgrims from otherwise certain death, a dark conflict was brewing. It erupted in King Philip’s war, a terribly bloody conflict which decimated the English population and all but obliterated the Wampanoag. 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, Philbrick paints a vivid and panoramic picture of conflict and colonialism, co-operation and betrayal. In so doing he brings to life a cast of compelling, even heroic, characters, and sets the scene for the development of the American nation.

Reviews of Mayflower

  • ‘Living history at its best. Engaging and enthrall