Modern history

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War

From the perilous ocean crossing to the shared bounty of the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrim settlement of New England has become enshrined as our most sacred national myth. Yet, as bestselling author Nathaniel Philbrick reveals in his spellbinding new book, the true story of the Pilgrims is much more than the well-known tale of piety and sacrifice; it is a fifty-five-year epic that is at once tragic, heroic, exhilarating, and profound.

The Mayflower's religious refugees arrived in Plymouth Harbor during a period of crisis for Native Americans as disease spread by European fishermen devastated their populations. Initially the two groups—the Wampanoags, under the charismatic and calculating chief Massasoit, and the Pilgrims, whose pugnacious military officer Miles Standish was barely five feet tall—maintained a fragile working relationship. But within decades, New England would erupt into King Philip's War, a savagely bloody conflict that nearly wiped out English colonists and natives alike and forever altered the face of the fledgling colonies and the country that would grow from them.

With towering figures like William Bradford and the distinctly American hero Benjamin Church at the center of his narrative, Philbrick has fashioned a fresh and compelling portrait of the dawn of American history—a history dominated right from the start by issues of race, violence, and religion.

Preface: The Two Voyages

Part I: Discovery

Chapter 1. They Knew They Were Pilgrims

Chapter 2. Dangerous Shoals and Roaring Breakers

Chapter 3. Into the Void

Chapter 4. Beaten with Their Own Rod

Chapter 5. The Heart of Winter

Chapter 6. In a Dark and Dismal Swamp

Chapter 7. Thanksgiving

Part II: Accommodation

Chapter 8. The Wall

Chapter 9. A Ruffling Course

Part III: Community

Chapter 10. One Small Candle

Chapter 11. The Ancient Mother

Chapter 12. The Trial

Part IV: War

Chapter 13. Kindling the Flame

Chapter 14. The God of Armies

Chapter 15. In a Strange Way

Chapter 16. The Better Side of the Hedge

Epilogue: Conscience

Notes

Bibliography