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The Mayflower Generation

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.
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About the Author

Rebecca Fraser is a writer and broadcaster whose work includes a biography of Charlotte BrontU which examines her life in the context of contemporary attitudes to women. President of the BrontU 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.'


"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 "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

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