The Mayflower. By Rebecca Fraser .St Martin’s Press; 384 pages; $29.99. Published in Britain as “The Mayflower Generation”; Chatto & Windus; £25.
THE story of the Mayflower and its passengers has been told so many times that one cannot help wondering whether the ship’s importance has been overstated. It is not that her journey from Southampton to New England in 1620, carrying dozens of English religious separatists from the Dutch city of Leiden (whither they had fled to escape an England they considered to be under a papist cloud), was not an important event. But it is scarcely possible to exaggerate how large a weight that one small, dilapidated cargo ship, sold for scrap less than five years after her historic voyage, has been asked to bear in America’s imagination. So famous is she that one needs to remind oneself that she was certainly not the first to make the voyage, that the colony at Jamestown in Virginia had existed for more than a decade when she arrived,…Continue reading
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