Geraldine Brooks Caleb's Crossing

ISBN 13: 9780007367474

Caleb's Crossing

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9780007367474: Caleb's Crossing

The new novel from Pulitzer Prize-winner Geraldine Brooks, author of the Richard and Judy bestseller 'March,, 'Year of Wonders, and 'People of the Book,. Caleb's Crossing is inspired by the little known story of the first native American to graduate from Harvard College in 1665. Caleb, a Wampanoag from the island of Martha's Vineyard, seven miles off the coast of Massachusetts, grew up in the first generation of Indians to experience contact with English settlers. (The first English settled the island in 1641, to escape the brutal and doctrinaire Puritanism of the Massachusetts Bay colony.) The story is told through the eyes of Bethia, daughter of the English minister who educates Caleb in the Latin and Greek he needs in order to enter the college. As Caleb makes the crossing into white culture, Bethia, 14 years old at the novel's opening, finds herself pulled in the opposite direction. Trapped by the narrow strictures of her faith and her gender, she seeks connections with Caleb's world that will challenge her beliefs and set her at odds with her community.

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Review:

Amazon Best Books of the Month, May 2011: When Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks came to live on Martha's Vineyard in 2006, she ran across a map by the island's native Wampanoag people that marked the birthplace of Caleb, first Native American to graduate of Harvard College--in 1665. Her curiosity piqued, she unearthed and fleshed out his thin history, immersing herself in the records of his tribe, of the white families that settled the island in the 1640s, and 17th-century Harvard. In Caleb's Crossing, Brooks offers a compelling answer to the riddle of how--in an era that considered him an intellectually impaired savage--he left the island to compete with the sons of the Puritanical elite. She relates his story through the impassioned voice of the daughter of the island's Calvinist minister, a brilliant young woman who aches for the education her father wastes on her dull brother. Bethia Mayfield meets Caleb at twelve, and their mutual affinity for nature and knowledge evolves into a clandestine, lifelong bond. Bethia's father soon realizes Caleb's genius for letters and prepares him for study at Harvard, while Bethia travels to Cambridge under much less auspicious circumstances. This window on early academia fascinates, but the book breathes most thrillingly in the island's salt-stung air, and in the end, its questions of the power and cost of knowledge resound most profoundly not in Harvard's halls, but in the fire of a Wampanoag medicine man. --Mari Malcolm

About the Author:

Geraldine Brooks was born and raised in Australia. After moving to the USA she worked for eleven years on the Wall Street Journal, covering stories from some of the world,s most troubled areas, including Bosnia, Somalia and the Middle East. Her first novels 'A Year of Wonders, and 'March have become international bestsellers, the latter earning Brooks the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. She lives with her husband and son in rural Virginia and is currently a fellow at Harvard University.

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Brooks, Geraldine
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