The world of Plymouth Plantation

Carla Gardina Pestana

Book - 2020

"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"--

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Cambridge, Massachusetts : The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 2020.
Main Author
Carla Gardina Pestana (author)
Physical Description
viii, 232 pages : illustrations, maps ; 22 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • Author's Note
  • Introduction
  • 1. Looking Ahead
  • Wives
  • Plantation
  • Guns
  • 2. Bringing Along
  • Transients
  • Refuge
  • Animals
  • 3. Meeting and Exchanging
  • Traders
  • God
  • Tobacco
  • 4. Settling in
  • Escapees
  • A New England
  • Stockings
  • 5. Creating a Community
  • Servants
  • Separatism
  • Furs
  • 6. Connecting to the Wider World
  • Privateers
  • Kingship
  • Books
  • Conclusion
  • Abbreviations
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Illustration Credits
  • Index
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

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.)

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