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The world of Plymouth Plantation
2020
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Publishers Weekly Reviews

UCLA history professor Pestana (The English Conquest of Jamaica) restores Plymouth colony to "a real place in which people lived, worked, and died," rather than "a symbol of large, abstract concepts," in this accessible and illuminating account. Contending that the "emphasis on firstness and uniqueness needlessly limits our understanding of the experience of these early settlers," Pestana details the maritime trading networks that connected Plymouth to Europe and other settlements in the New World. She adds depth to many founding legends of American culture, including the Mayflower Compact (drafted as a "stopgap measure," it took on legendary status only after the Pilgrims failed to obtain a royal charter) and Plymouth Rock (not designated as the landing site until more than a century after the colony's founding, and by people who "conveyed an astonishing ignorance about sailing"). Other noteworthy insights concern the transient nature of Plymouth's population, its strong fealty to the king of England, and the essential role of women's labor. Drawing largely on 17th-century accounts, including William Bradford's Of Plimoth Plantation, Pestana brings the early decades of the colony to rich and nuanced life. Readers will give thanks for this cogent study of the real people and events behind this "foundational moment" in American history. (Nov.)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

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"On the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing and the establishment of Plymouth Plantation, Carla Gardina Pestana offers an intimate look at life in the settlement. Hardly the isolated outpost of myth, in Pestana's telling Plymouth is revealed as a vibrant place of meeting, with strong connections to the seventeenth-century colonial world"-- - (Baker & Taylor)

Published to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing and the establishment of the colony, this revealing account of life in Plymouth Plantation goes beyond familiar founding myths to portray real life in the settlement. Illustrations. - (Baker & Taylor)

On the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing and the establishment of Plymouth Plantation, Carla Gardina Pestana offers an intimate look at life in the settlement. Hardly the isolated outpost of myth, in Pestana’s telling Plymouth is revealed as a vibrant place of meeting, with strong connections to the seventeenth-century colonial world. - (Harvard University Press)

An intimate look inside Plymouth Plantation that goes beyond familiar founding myths to portray real life in the settlement—the hard work, small joys, and deep connections to others beyond the shores of Cape Cod Bay.

The English settlement at Plymouth has usually been seen in isolation. Indeed, the colonists gain our admiration in part because we envision them arriving on a desolate, frozen shore, far from assistance and forced to endure a deadly first winter alone. Yet Plymouth was, from its first year, a place connected to other places. Going beyond the tales we learned from schoolbooks, Carla Gardina Pestana offers an illuminating account of life in Plymouth Plantation.

The colony was embedded in a network of trade and sociability. The Wampanoag, whose abandoned village the new arrivals used for their first settlement, were the first among many people the English encountered and upon whom they came to rely. The colonists interacted with fishermen, merchants, investors, and numerous others who passed through the region. Plymouth was thereby linked to England, Europe, the Caribbean, Virginia, the American interior, and the coastal ports of West Africa. Pestana also draws out many colorful stories—of stolen red stockings, a teenager playing with gunpowder aboard ship, the gift of a chicken hurried through the woods to a sickbed. These moments speak intimately of the early North American experience beyond familiar events like the first Thanksgiving.

On the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing and the establishment of the settlement, The World of Plymouth Plantation recovers the sense of real life there and sets the colony properly within global history.

- (Harvard University Press)

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