By Nathaniel Philbrick
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, $19.99, 352 pages
Nathaniel Philbrick is the winner of the National Book Award for his nonfiction work on the Mayflower and earned an impressive fourteen Best Books accolades in 2006 for the same. The Mayflower and the Pilgrims’ New World is an adaptation of that original work for young readers.
He successfully took our simple understanding of the original voyage on the Mayflower and the first Thanksgiving, and turned it into a colorfully woven tapestry illustrated for the enjoyment of any age reader. He blends the challenges the Pilgrims endured, and their adventures with the Natives, into a textbook culture of their times unfolding a story of courage, intrigue, deception, and greed. He took fact-finding to whole new level by telling a story from actual archives of history. I would have enjoyed history much more in school with his definitive work.
His story spans from early 1608 to the fall of 1676 setting the tone for us to view the human lives; strengths and frailties, that our fore-fathers suffered and fought. They gave up so much just for the promise of a new life, new government and freedom for their religion. Nathaniel depicts the truths, and spotlights the flaws in our perception of the period back then. He is true to history and culture while portraying real human emotions. This is a book I would recommend to readers of all ages, genres and teachers alike!