The Wordy Shipmatesby Vowell, Sarah
The Puritans on the Arabella sailed from England in 1630 bound for the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They differed from the Separatist Mayflower Puritans, who settled in Plymouth Colony, in their desire to reform the Church from within and remain English. John Winthrop, the leader of the Arabella Puritans, exhorted his followers to be "as God's chosen people" and "to be as a city on a hill." Believing that the United States continues to be haunted by these visions, the author takes the reader on a road trip to the 17th-century battleground of words. Along the way, the author introduces two banished colonists, Roger Williams, who founded Rhode Island as a haven of religious freedom, and Anne Hutchinson, who possessed debating skills so superior to her male accusers that the author suspects Harvard was built as a means of arming young males against other mouthy women.
Winner of the Indies Choice Book Award for Best Conversation Starter, Sarah Vowell's irreverent and witty history interweaves the 17th century, current events and stories of her travels to historic sites with her sister and young nephew. Vowell includes quotes from Winthrop and anecdotes from her life in this personal take on our country's beginnings. Vowell is an editor for public radio's This American Life and the author of Assassination Vacation and The Partly Cloudy Patriot.
Reviewed by ds, 6/2009. Other reviews by ds. Have you read this book? Tell us what you think!