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About the book
  • Published: 15 November 2017
  • ISBN: 9780701177621
  • Imprint: Chatto & Windus
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $55.00
Categories:

The Mayflower Generation

The Winslow Family and the Fight for the New World




The epic story of one family’s flight from England and the life they forged amongst the Indians in America

Selected by The Times as a History Book of the Year 2017 and The Tablet as a Book of the Year 2017

The voyage of the Mayflower and the founding of Plymouth Colony is one of the seminal events in world history. But the poorly-equipped group of English Puritans who ventured across the Atlantic in the early autumn of 1620 had no sense they would pass into legend. They had eighty casks of butter and two dogs but no cattle for milk, meat, or ploughing. They were ill-prepared for the brutal journey and the new land that few of them could comprehend. But the Mayflower story did not end with these Pilgrims’ arrival on the coast of New England or their first uncertain years as settlers. Rebecca Fraser traces two generations of one ordinary family and their extraordinary response to the challenges of life in America.

Edward Winslow, an apprentice printer born in Worcestershire, fled England and then Holland for a life of religious freedom and opportunity. Despite the intense physical trials of settlement, he found America exotic, enticing, and endlessly interesting. He built a home and a family, and his remarkable friendship with King Massassoit, Chief of the Wampanoags, is part of the legend of Thanksgiving. Yet, fifty years later, Edward’s son Josiah was commanding the New England militias against Massassoit’s son in King Philip’s War.

The Mayflower Generation is an intensely human portrait of the Winslow family written with the pace of an epic. Rebecca Fraser details domestic life in the seventeenth century, the histories of brave and vocal Puritan women and the contradictions between generations as fathers and sons made the painful decisions which determined their future in America.

  • Pub date: 15 November 2017
  • ISBN: 9780701177621
  • Imprint: Chatto & Windus
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $55.00
Categories:

About the Author

Rebecca Fraser

Rebecca Fraser is a writer and broadcaster whose work includes a biography of Charlotte Brontë which examines her life in the context of contemporary attitudes to women. President of the Brontë Society for many years, she wrote the introductions to the Everyman editions of Shirley and The Professor and is a contributor to the BBC History website. Her most recent book, A People’s History of Britain, is a highly readable account of British history. It has been described as ‘an elegantly written, impressively well-informed single-volume history of how England was governed during the past 2000 years.’

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Praise for The Mayflower Generation

“Rebecca Fraser has written a superb account of the first two generations of the Winslow family of the Mayflower. Fraser’s extensive research has shed new light on this interesting family and allied families. This book stands as a significant contribution to the already well documented field of Pilgrim history ... a must read for those interested in the unique beginnings of America”

Cynthia Hagar Krusell, Historian and Author of The Winslows of Careswell in Marshfield

“Captivating, scholarly and addictively readable… Rebecca Fraser has the rare gift of being able to marshal and communicate a mountainous quantity of often original research in such a deft and elegant manner that it never becomes indigestible or irrelevant. [...] When a sidestep outside her rigorous chronological account is required, she executes it nimbly, without breaking her stride. If she reaches a period of scanty evidence, she admits it, and her suggestions carry the conviction of expertise. Everything is rooted in provable fact, much of it new”

Sue Gaisford, Financial Times

“Rebecca Fraser’s exquisitely researched book seems to offer something new to learn – and wonder over – on every page, from the warm, mutually admiring friendships between some Puritans and Native Americans to the near-apocalyptic brutality of King Philip’s War, and other campaigns. The Pilgrims believed that ‘the world could begin afresh in America,’ this gifted historian writes. As, eventually, it did. Deftly, indelibly, Fraser shows us the human cost”

Penelope Rowlands, Journalist and Author of Aaron Burr's Second Act

“Renowned historian Fraser brings us yet another superbly written and enthralling read... she excels at showing howlandscape, religion, and politics can irreversibly transform a family and a community. Highly recommended”

Jennifer Johnson, Booklist

“[Fraser] has threaded the important historiographical innovations seamlessly into her text, paying more attention than hitherto to the experiences of early colonial women, and drawing on the lessons of ethno-history in her portrayal of Indian tribes... A brilliant combination of synthesis and original research arriving in good time for the celebration of the quincentenary of the Mayflower”

Mark Bostridge, The Spectator

“Rebecca Fraser tells this familiar story with wonderful immediacy; the Winslows come across not as strange characters from the distant past, but as real people with passions and anxieties familiar to us all”

Gerard De Groot, The Times

“The author puts the reader into the period with a front-row seat as the story unfolds and captures the reader. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in the Edward Winslow family and many of his contemporaries that surrounded Winslow in England, the Netherlands and came with him to New England. Fraser’s attention to historical detail is excellent and enhances this riveting book!”

Judith H. Swan, Former Governor General, General Society of Mayflower Descendants

“Fraser’s smooth storytelling provides a revealing look into the development of the [Plymouth] colony, the rise of the Massachusetts Bay Company, and the different outlooks on the community and the lure of land. The story of the Winslows is an effective way to experience the emotions and fears of the small band who dauntlessly sailed off to the New World”

Kirkus Review

“Epic in scope and pacing, this account of survival feels intimate... The author's inclusion of indigenous history along with the struggles of women pilgrims and their importance to the community's success is both appreciated and necessary”

Library Journal

“It is engagingly written and often compelling. There is an eye for memorable detail… The later account of “King Philip’s war” is both graphic and gripping… The author is a careful researcher, fair and level-headed. She is also an excellent painter of characters; in judging them, she looks as their deeds with contemporary mores in mind… Even if the Mayflower shelf is a crowded one, this is a book that deserves its place on it”

The Economist

“A well written and far ranging perspective on the Pilgrims and seventeenth century New England by a noted student of English history”

Francis J. Bremer, Coordinator, New England Beginnings and Author of Lay Empowerment and the Development of Puritanism

“Fascinating… Rebecca Fraser commands a sprawling canvas, beginning in 1595 with the birth of Edward Winslow and ending in 1704 with the death of Peregrine White… Edward Winslow’s excitement at arriving in Leiden, with its free-thinking university, is vividly captured. So, too, are the perils of the Mayflower’s voyage… There is also a rich sense of the enormous possibilities offered by the New World… This is a thrilling story, admirably told”

Anthony Gardner, Tablet

“Fraser is an experienced, sensitive biographer... [She] has clearly set her sights on addressing an audience of intelligent, curious, lay people. She has written with an awareness of the powerful cultural heritage the colonial Puritans created in New England and occasionally alludes to nineteenth-century commentators on them. It is a measure of her success that, after a lifetime of teaching and writing about American history, I found her story illuminating points I had never before fully appreciated.”

Daniel Howe, The Oldie

“An intimate view of colonial life, an approachable companion to more forbidding scholarly studies”

Wall Street Journal

“The Mayflower Generation makes a convincing case that the Winslows, father and son, played as important a role in New England’s development as the better-known William Bradford and John Winthrop”

Virginia DeJohn Anderson, TLS


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