Sunday, November 22, 2009

Who Were the Wordy Shipmates?

When I finally read Wordy Shipmates, I discovered who Sarah Vowell was referring to –the second boat of Puritans who colonized Massachusetts, particularly John Winthrop, founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, feisty pre-feminist Anne Hutchinson, and the semi-crazed zealot, albeit tolerant, Roger Williams, who founded Rhode Island.

Vowell, who is both patriotic and irreverent, said she wanted to show that the Puritans got one thing right: the leaders they chose were the best educated and the smartest. She also aims to explain how, as a nation, we've inherited the Puritans' notion that we are God's chosen people. She writes about the first Thanksgiving, and explains that Squanto helped the Puritans when he returned to America from England after being kidnapped because his entire family and village were dead from small pox, so he had nothing else to do.

I don’t remember much high school history, and read mostly fiction, so this book was perfect as an entertaining history lesson. And by the way, Sarah Vowel is coming to the Paramount in February.

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