SAINTS AND STRANGERS by George Willison

SAINTS AND STRANGERS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is the sort of book that may will rate a Pulitzer in history, for it certainly opens the door on a whole segment of our historical backgrounds on which we have been either ignorant or misled. A definite history of the Pilgrim Fathers, shorn of the trappings of school textbooks and apocryphal legend and replacing these discarded traditional tales with a sturdy record of a small group that managed to keep their identity against fearful odds and a toll exacted by rigours of nature without -- conflict with their fellow-English, their own recalcitrant members, Indians, and Dutch. The Pilgrim saga is a creation of the 19th century; this new picture is based on contemporary records, some newly discovered, some reinterpreted material, and it follows their troubled history from the persecutions under Henry VIII, Edward, Mary, Elizabeth, James -- through the none-too-rosy Amsterdam and Leyden years, across the ocean in frail barks -- ""saints and strangers"" together -- to the Cape and eventually to Plymouth. Then the struggle to become self-sustaining, the reversals years after year, the failure to secure from the English overlords their rights and charter; the evidence of greed without, staunch faith within; the growing religious and moral intolerances; splits in the ranks; relations with Indians; expansion to the West; and the personalities that dominated the whole. A tangled tale clarified for moderns --exceedingly interesting as illumination on those of our forefathers too often confused with the Puritans to the North of them -- but slow reading because of liberal quotation from ancient records. An important work.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1945
Publisher: Reynal & Hitchcock