School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 4-8-Life in Plymouth Colony and the Massachusetts Bay Colony from their founding until the end of the 17th century is the focus here. Slavicek carefully points out the many ways the settlers' religious beliefs influenced their daily lives and the social and political practices of the colonies. An epilogue outlines the ways in which aspects of Puritan belief and behavior have shaped elements of contemporary American culture. Some of the same ground is covered in Christopher and James Lincoln Collier's Pilgrims and Puritans, 1620-1676 (Benchmark, 1997). Both books do a good job of describing how and why the religious beliefs of these people were expressed in virtually everything they did. In this context, it is unfortunate that after carefully identifying the Pilgrims as Separatists, and explaining how they differed from the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay, Slavicek then proceeds to use "Puritan" exclusively for the rest of the book. Information is presented clearly, with a nice selection of interesting detail to illustrate points and a generous sprinkling of footnotes. Numerous black-and-white illustrations include period engravings, documents, paintings, and photographs of artifacts. Photographs showing modern reenactments are clearly identified as such. However, the lack of color and the formatting of the text into two columns per page detract from the visual appeal of the work. Nonetheless, this resource is a solid addition to the existing body of literature on the early years of the Massachusetts colonies, and particularly noteworthy for its intelligent and careful presentation of some admittedly complex and often misunderstood or belittled religious beliefs.-Elaine Fort Weischedel, Franklin Public Library, MA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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