The First Thanksgiving: A Selection from Mayflower (Penguin Tracks) [NOOK Book]

Overview

From the perilous ocean crossing to the shared bounty of the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrim settlement of New England has become enshrined as our most sacred national myth. Yet, as bestselling author Nathaniel Philbrick reveals in his spellbinding new book, the true story of the Pilgrims is much more than the well-known tale of piety and sacrifice; it is a fifty-five-year epic that is at once tragic, heroic, exhilarating, and profound.

The Mayflower's religious refugees arrived...

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The First Thanksgiving: A Selection from Mayflower (Penguin Tracks)

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Overview

From the perilous ocean crossing to the shared bounty of the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrim settlement of New England has become enshrined as our most sacred national myth. Yet, as bestselling author Nathaniel Philbrick reveals in his spellbinding new book, the true story of the Pilgrims is much more than the well-known tale of piety and sacrifice; it is a fifty-five-year epic that is at once tragic, heroic, exhilarating, and profound.

The Mayflower's religious refugees arrived in Plymouth Harbor during a period of crisis for Native Americans as disease spread by European fishermen devastated their populations. Initially the two groups—the Wampanoags, under the charismatic and calculating chief Massasoit, and the Pilgrims, whose pugnacious military officer Miles Standish was barely five feet tall—maintained a fragile working relationship. But within decades, New England would erupt into King Philip's War, a savagely bloody conflict that nearly wiped out English colonists and natives alike and forever altered the face of the fledgling colonies and the country that would grow from them.

With towering figures like William Bradford and the distinctly American hero Benjamin Church at the center of his narrative, Philbrick has fashioned a fresh and compelling portrait of the dawn of American history—a history dominated right from the start by issues of race, violence, and religion.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101218839
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/9/2006
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 47,025
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Nathaniel Philbrick

Nathaniel Philbrick grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and earned a BA in English from Brown University and an MA in America Literature from Duke University, where he was a James B. Duke Fellow. He was Brown University’s first Intercollegiate All-American sailor in 1978, the same year he won the Sunfish North Americans in Barrington, RI. After working as an editor at Sailing World magazine, he wrote and edited several books about sailing, including The Passionate Sailor, Second Wind, and Yaahting: A Parody.  

 

In 1986, Philbrick moved to Nantucket with his wife Melissa and their two children. In 1994, he published his first book about the island’s history, Away Off Shore, followed by a study of the Nantucket’s native legacy, Abram’s Eyes. He was the founding director of Nantucket’s Egan Maritime Institute and is still a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association. 



In 2000, Philbrick published the New York Times bestseller In the Heart of the Sea, which won the National Book Award for nonfiction. The book is the basis of the forthcoming Warner Bros. motion picture “Heart of the Sea,” directed by Ron Howard and starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Benjamin Walker, Ben Wishaw, and Tom Holland, which is scheduled for release in March, 2015. The book also inspired a 2001 Dateline special on NBC as well as the 2010 two-hour PBS American Experience film “Into the Deep” by Ric Burns.

 

His next book was Sea of Glory, published in 2003, which won the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize and the Albion-Monroe Award from the National Maritime Historical Society. The New York Times Bestseller Mayflower was a finalist for both the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in History and the Los Angeles Times Book Award, won the Massachusetts Book Award for nonfiction, and was named one the ten Best Books of 2006 by the New York Times Book Review. Mayflower is currently in development as a limited series on FX.

 

In 2010, he published the New York Times bestseller The Last Stand, which was named a New York Times Notable book, a 2010 Montana Book Award Honor Book, and a 2011 ALA Notable Book. Philbrick was an on-camera consultant to the two-hour PBS American Experience film “Custer’s Last Stand” by Stephen Ives. The book is currently being adapted for a ten-hour, multi-part television series. The audio book for Philbrick’s Why Read Moby-Dick? (2011) made the ALA's Listen List in 2012 and was a finalist for the New England Society Book Award.

 

Philbrick’s latest New York Times bestseller, Bunker Hill:  A City, a Siege, a Revolution, was published in 2013 and was awarded both the 2013 New England Book Award for Non-Fiction and the 2014 New England Society Book Award. Bunker Hill won the 2014 book award from the Society of Colonial Wars, and has been optioned by Warner Bros. for feature film adaptation with Ben Affleck attached to direct.

 

Philbrick has also received the Byrne Waterman Award from the Kendall Whaling Museum, the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for distinguished service from the USS Constitution Museum, the Nathaniel Bowditch Award from the American Merchant Marine Museum, the William Bradford Award from the Pilgrim Society, and the Boston History Award from the Bostonian Society. He was named the 2011 Cushing Orator by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and has an honorary doctorate from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, where he delivered the commencement address in 2009.

 

Philbrick’s writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, the New York Times Book Review, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe. He has appeared on the Today Show, the Morning Show, Dateline, PBS’s American Experience, C-SPAN, and NPR. He and his wife still live on Nantucket.

Biography

Champion sailboat racer Nathaniel Philbrick is one of the premier authorities on New England's Nantucket Island, and an all around aficionado of maritime activities. Ever since he published his first book, a short, humorous take on sailing titled The Passionate Sailor, Philbrick has been sharing that passion with readers. Whether exploring his beloved Nantucket or tracing tragedies and triumphs on the open sea throughout history, Philbrick is the writer of some of the most illuminating and harrowing histories to come sailing across bookshelves in the past decade.

While Philbrick broke into publishing with the lighthearted The Passionate Sailor, he truly established his role as a chronicler of Nantucket—the one-time whaling capital of the world—with his second book, Away Off Shore. Instead of focusing on the colorfully quaint legends that hardly scrape the surface of Nantucket's rich history, Philbrick chose to take a more sober look at the island and how it rose to success. He brought that same objectivity to subsequent books such as Abram's Eyes, which delves into the vast Native American population of Nantucket, separating folklore from historical evidence, and his breakthrough In the Heart of the Sea. Here, Philbrick takes a fascinating look at the legendary sinking of the Essex, a tale that would form the backbone of Herman Melville's classic Moby Dick. If anything, the true story of a wayward ship's encounter with a giant whale is even more terrifying and gripping than anything in Melville's imagination. In the Heart of the Sea is at its core a tragedy rife with painful ironies, fatal decisions, cannibalism, and a final encounter with a furious sperm whale.

The key to this National Book Award winner is that it is told with all the flair and suspense of any fictional story. "What I really like is narrative-driven non-fiction," Philbrick explained to Barnes & Noble.com. "A story is important for anyone to engage with what happened in the past." Just as Philbrick used this tactic to relate the tragedy of the Essex, he used it to tell of the triumphant U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838 in Sea of Glory. No less engaging than its predecessor, Sea of Glory is almost like the yang to the shadowy yin of In the Heart of the Sea, gloriously recounting a grander ocean expedition than that of Lewis and Clark, a quest to map the entire Pacific Ocean that would lead to the discovery of Antarctica.

Philbrick's next book retells a story with which most American schoolchildren are familiar but only through a filter of benign Thanksgiving pageants. The story of the pilgrim's journey to Plymouth Rock told in Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War is quite a different tale. Philbrick was not exactly burning to revisit this well-traveled chapter in history, saying of the Mayflower's voyage, "what could be more boring?" However, once he peeled away the holiday wrapping, he discovered a dark web of violence, starvation, illness, death, and war to rival the tragedy of In the Heart of the Sea. It is as if the pilgrim and Indian's story, as well as their true nature, is being revealed for the very first time, with provocative depictions of a bloody-thirsty Miles Standish and a duplicitous Squanto.

The Library Journal boldly declared that Mayflower was "clearly one of the year's best books" of 2006, and it is certainly one of the most riveting, a historical work that reads like great fiction written by a master at the peak of his abilities.

Good To Know

When Philbrick was a young boy, his father, a professor of English literature with a focus on Maritime fiction, would tell him about the Essex's tragic sea voyage as a sort of grim bedtime story.

Nathaniel Philbrick served as a consultant on USA television's 1998 adaptation of Moby Dick starring Patrick Stewart.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Nat Philbrick
    2. Hometown:
      Nantucket, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 11, 1956
    2. Place of Birth:
      Boston, Massachusetts
    1. Education:
      B.A., Brown University, 1978; M.A., Duke University
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 129 )
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(37)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 132 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    How did America begin? The story behind the extraordinary journey that launched our nation.

    Nathaniel Philbrick writes a provocative and revealing story about our country's beginnings. He not only shows us the truth behind some of our most treasured myths regarding our country's beginnings, but reveals a fifty year epic that is filled with tragedy and heroism. From the drama of the initial voyage of the Mayflower to King Philip's War fifty years later the author shows us the human story behind the historic events. He brings to life characters whose names have been legend. He also addresses many disturbing issues regarding race, economic opportunity, religious freedom and war. A must read for history buffs or anyone who just likes a ripping good tale.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent book, thought provoking, enlightening

    Excellent read, copious amounts of information. The author does an excellent job at laying out the facts of what really transpired in those early days on this continent. I was impressed, ashamed, and in awe of the colonists. Not your elementary story of Thanksgiving.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2010

    Will Change Your Ideas of Thanksgiving

    By far one of the most interesting historical books I've read recently. Everyone knows the traditional "Thanksgiving Day scenerio", this gives the reader a true picture of the real relationship between the Pilgrims and the Native Indians. It was an eye opener and I'd highly recommend it!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2008

    Must Read For History Buffs

    I read this book mostly to find out more information on my ancestor John Howland, but I ended up learning more about this early American settlement than I did in school. I always thought that once the Pilgrims landed and had the first Thanksgiving that was it. I was wrong, I didn't know about all the struggles that they were put through, how much they suffered when they arrived. If you like American History, you should definitely pick this title up.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2008

    Brings History Alive

    I listened to this book on CD . Having it read to me by the excellent narrator was a special treat. I love reading history, especially early American history. This book gives insights into the Pilgrims' and Puritans' lives in the 17th century, their ever changing relationships with the native population and the human strengths and weaknesses that shaped our country's history. Often I was amazed at how many parallels there were to modern time politics and how in many ways human behaviour has not changed in 400 years. A fascinating book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2007

    Not out of Hollywood

    Damn, I thought the indians were invented by Hollywood and pilgrims were anybody that John Wayne didn't remember their first name. Finally, we get the full story via Philbrick -- and what a story. Imagine you are a native American and you are looking out to sea when a ship appears bearing a bunch of white people who will be elbowing you off your land in a couple of decades. I'm surprised the indians didn't get rid of these 'interlopers' immediately. Seriously, though, this book tells us more about the start-up of America than most of what we learned in school. It puts a human face on the early settlers as well as the natives -- neither much diffferent than they are today. In other words 'human.' Anyone who thinks they know our early history should not miss this telling -- a fine piece of work.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2007

    History via generals and battles

    I was disappointed in this book. Thought I'd get a picture of the MAYFLOWER's *journey*. And after that I was looking for settlement information, how they lived and created their new communities, personal commentary on everyday life. Instead, the book was filled with the usual political-military minutiae of history books: leaders, battles, maneuvers, battle detail--who did what to whom. I did like the balance of responsibility between Native Americans and the English settlers. The only place I really became interested was when the woman captive related her observations. I found this book to be a tedious read.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2006

    READ THIS BOOK

    As a meer boy of 14 I thought that it would take me weeks to read this book. It took me about a week to get to page 90, but, then I really got into it and I couldn't put it down. Two days later I was finished. I thought that it read like a novel. All aspects of this book, especially with the action parts, were masterfully written. I just thought that the name of the book shouldn't of been called Mayflower because it was only mentioned breifly. Other than that, I thought it the best non-fiction book that I've ever read.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    Turned me into a history buff

    I got this book for my birthday and i was sceptical, once i gave it a try i cold not put it down

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 21, 2011

    An important piece of the puzzle to American history

    Like many of the best history novels, this one is a personal discovery by the reader into our past. It enlightens you into the pure humanity of those who have since been mythologized. These were people, with their faults, but also their ideals. Sometimes it's important to be reminded that not all of the historical figures from our past were menacing crusaders, but simply humans in search of a better life.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Useful History

    This book has been called "revisionist history". Maybe so, but it is a very good attempt to consider all of the characters and situations influencing the first 55 years of the first long term European settlement in what has come to be known as New England. Mr. Philbrick delves into the motivations and beliefs of all of the parties involved and generally, but not always, uses great restraint in his judgement of their actions. To his credit, he goes out of his way to temper his editorial comment to be meaningful when considered against the beliefs, customs, and histories of the people involved, pointing out how they may have justified or rationalized actions that played out across the region, changing it forever.

    Growing up in the region that this epic drama played out in, and having a great interest in the time period covered in the book, I was impressed with his research and continuity of story abilities. He fleshed out a lot of situations I had heard about, and also introduced me to significant conflicts and periods that I had never heard of but which were germaine to the story. Fascinating history.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2006

    A fascinating story not to be missed...

    Nathaniel Philbrick has presented the Mayflower saga in a facinating and humbling account of fortitude, bravery and wretched indignation that can only be seen as the real story. How sad it is that we can so quickly forget that survival can depend on our relationships with others. There is no doubt that overwhelming numbers ensured our continuance on this continent and sealed the fate of the 'true native Americans'. Perhaps the lessons of the Bradfords and the Churches aren't outdated and might have some meaning today if we had sense enough to embrace them. Mega cudo's to an author who ranks in my top 2 : Philbrick and King

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    OK

    MORE LIKE A DETAILED TEXT BOOK

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2013

    Misleading title

    Little about The Mayflower, much about the settlng of New England states. If you are from the area of Boston, you will probably find some interesting points regarding local folklore, legends and such.
    For the rest of us, not so much.
    Very disapointing from an author who gave us such an epic sea faring adventure as Heart of theSea.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Mayflower, A Story of Courage, Community and War

    Forget the history you were taught in the fifth grade about the Pilgrims. Disavow yourself of notions of English emigrants seeking religious liberty for all. Purge yourself of the anecdotal fraternity among black-suited Puritans and wampum-clad Native Americans. Nathaniel Philbrick, in Mayflower, provides a well-researched and extensive history of what really happened in New England between 1620, when the Pilgrims "borrowed" the Indians’ winter supplies of corn, and 1676, when the last warriors were executed, pacified or sold as slaves. His chronology of two cultures adapting to each other is thorough and insightful. While the Wampanoag, Narragansett, Pequot and other nations had their legends, it’s instructive to see in Mayflower how today’s Americans’ myths derive from the discovery of William Bradford’s “Of Plymouth Plantation,” publication of Longfellow’s “The Courtship of Miles Standish,” and President Lincoln turning Thanksgiving into a gluttonous holiday. (The Wampanoag may be getting their revenge through government approval a casino in Marlborough, Mass.) Philbrick’s thesis isn’t to denigrate the English in early America as much as it is to chronicle the mistakes that led to hostilities between tribes and settlers. “There are two possible responses to a world suddenly gripped by terror and contention. There is [one] way: get mad and get even. But as the course of King Philip’s War proved, unbridled arrogance and fear only feed the flames of violence.” Philbrick’s history lesson was as true in 1676 as it is now.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2012

    Mayflower

    A very good look at the entire time period of which the Mayflower was a part. America was a varied and complex place with the many different types and varieties of Native American tribes, along with the many types and varieties of colonists. Good information on some of the individuals involved and good coverage of King Philip's war.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2006

    Mayflower. or indian history?

    I was disappointed with the book. I felt that the author spent more on indian history of that time and blaming the pilgrims for everything that could go wrong. Althought the pilgrims were not any better then we are as humans today, he seemed to constantly put them as bad a light as possible. The indians were just as opportunistic as the europeans who came here to change their lives. Both people made mistakes and were not perfect, but making the pilgrims as the fall guys for everything that went wrong just doesn't get it. I had recently read the book about Manhattan and found that much more informative and more insiteful as to the beginnings of our country.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2006

    The Pilgrims you never studied in school.

    This book tells the Mayflower story in a way you never studied in school. Philbrick writes about the Pilgrims and the Indians whose names you knew--but he develops their relationships, inter-dependency, and rift (culminating in war) in a whole new way. This history is very REAL--with issues not unlike today. It is a page-turner, something not often said about historical non-fiction.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2014

    Excellent....

    Fantastic, eead like a novel, but thoroughly researched. The best book on the market about this topic

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2014

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    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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