TURKEYS, PILGRIMS, AND INDIAN CORN: The Story of the Thanksgiving Symbols by Edna Barth

TURKEYS, PILGRIMS, AND INDIAN CORN: The Story of the Thanksgiving Symbols

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Without the ancient roots of other holiday customs to draw from (though she does briefly survey a variety of harvest feasts), Barth concentrates here on the often told story of the pilgrims. However she tells it so well, introducing the neglected pilgrim mothers (only six of the eighteen Mayflower wives lived till spring) and the pilgrim children along with the better known fathers, and gently disabusing readers of prevalent myths, that this is far from redundant. Not only does she point out that the pilgrims did wear bright clothing (and left no evidence of owning silver buckles); she also straightens out the confusion between the 1621 harvest celebration on which we base our holiday and the day of prayer and fasting which they called a thanksgiving. Perhaps the biggest surprise to most will be that Squanto, though truly a ""friend of the white man,"" was soliciting bribes from the Indians on the pretense that only he could keep the peace. Barth also projects a realistic picture of early pilgrim-Indian relations in this welcome offering that gives due attention as well to the turkey, pumpkins, Indian corn and cranberries we associate with the season.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1975
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Seabury