They Knew They Were Pilgrims

Plymouth Colony and the Contest for American Liberty

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John G. Turner
  • New Haven, CT: 
    Yale University Press
    , April
     2020.
     464 pages.
     $30.00.
     Hardcover.
    ISBN
    9780300225501.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Michael Baysa forthcoming.

Description

In 1620, separatists from the Church of England set sail across the Atlantic aboard the Mayflower. Understanding themselves as spiritual pilgrims, they left to preserve their liberty to worship God in accordance with their understanding of the Bible.
 
There exists, however, an alternative, more dispiriting version of their story. In it, the Pilgrims are religious zealots who persecuted dissenters and decimated Native peoples through warfare and by stealing their land. The Pilgrims’ definition of liberty was, in practice, very narrow.
 
Drawing on original research using underutilized sources, John G. Turner moves beyond these familiar narratives in his sweeping and authoritative new history of Plymouth Colony. Instead of depicting the Pilgrims as otherworldly saints or extraordinary sinners, he tells how a variety of English settlers and Native peoples engaged in a contest for the meaning of American liberty.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

John G. Turner is professor of religious studies at George Mason University and the award-winning author of Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet.

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