The Mayflower Generation: The Winslow Family and the Fight for the New World

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9780099477686: The Mayflower Generation: The Winslow Family and the Fight for the New World
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A Times History Book of the Year

The voyage of the Mayflower is one of the seminal events in world history. But the story did not end with her arrival on the frozen coast of New England in 1620. In an epic history, Rebecca Fraser relates one ordinary family’s extraordinary response to the challenges of life in America. Despite the intense physical trials of living in the New World, Edward Winslow found America exotic and enticing. His remarkable friendship with Massasoit, the King of the Wampanoags, is part of the legend of Thanksgiving. Yet, fifty years later, Edward’s son Josiah was commanding the New England militias against Massasoit’s son in King Philip’s War. A fast-paced intensely human portrait, The Mayflower Generation reveals the contradictions between generations as they made the painful decisions that determined the future of America.

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Review:

"Captivating, scholarly and addictively readable... Rebecca Fraser has the rare gift of being able to marshal and communicate a mountainous quantity of often original research in such a deft and elegant manner that it never becomes indigestible or irrelevant. [...] When a sidestep outside her rigorous chronological account is required, she executes it nimbly, without breaking her stride. If she reaches a period of scanty evidence, she admits it, and her suggestions carry the conviction of expertise. Everything is rooted in provable fact, much of it new" (Sue Gaisford Financial Times)

"Rebecca Fraser tells this familiar story with wonderful immediacy; the Winslows come across not as strange characters from the distant past, but as real people with passions and anxieties familiar to us all" (Gerard De Groot The Times)

"It is engagingly written and often compelling. There is an eye for memorable detail... The later account of “King Philip’s war” is both graphic and gripping... The author is a careful researcher, fair and level-headed. She is also an excellent painter of characters; in judging them, she looks as their deeds with contemporary mores in mind... Even if the Mayflower shelf is a crowded one, this is a book that deserves its place on it" (The Economist)

"[Fraser] has threaded the important historiographical innovations seamlessly into her text, paying more attention than hitherto to the experiences of early colonial women, and drawing on the lessons of ethno-history in her portrayal of Indian tribes... A brilliant combination of synthesis and original research arriving in good time for the celebration of the quincentenary of the Mayflower" (Mark Bostridge The Spectator)

"Fascinating... Rebecca Fraser commands a sprawling canvas, beginning in 1595 with the birth of Edward Winslow and ending in 1704 with the death of Peregrine White... Edward Winslow’s excitement at arriving in Leiden, with its free-thinking university, is vividly captured. So, too, are the perils of the Mayflower’s voyage... There is also a rich sense of the enormous possibilities offered by the New World... This is a thrilling story, admirably told" (Anthony Gardner Tablet)

About the Author:

Rebecca Fraser is a writer and broadcaster whose work includes a biography of Charlotte Brontë which examines her life in the context of contemporary attitudes to women. President of the Brontë Society for many years, she wrote the introductions to the Everyman editions of Shirley and The Professor and is a contributor to the BBC History website. Her most recent book, A People’s History of Britain, is a highly readable account of British history. It has been described as ‘an elegantly written, impressively well-informed single-volume history of how England was governed during the past 2000 years.’

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