America,  Book Reviews,  History,  NON FICTION

Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick *** (of 4)

I listened to half the book on CD, read another quarter, and didn’t have time to finish Philbrick’s account of the interaction between the Pilgrims of Plymouth and the Indians. The backdrop has everything to do with the decimation of 90 percent of the Indian population by disease and though Philbrick does not spend a lot of time on this, it is hard to imagine how Indian society continues with any semblance of normalcy when entire villages die or leave only one of two survivors. Into this Holocaust comes a steady stream of European fishing fleets and finally Pilgrim settlers. What the book does better than any other is humanize the Indians: there are connivers (like Squanto), power-hungry leaders, cowards, and good neighbors, about what you’d expect from any set of neighbors. The book is dense with fact, I think making it easier to listen to than to read. April 2007.