Making Haste from Babylon
by Nick Bunker
Who would have thought that an Englishman could be the writer of an outstanding new book on the Pilgrims? However, it's not so surprising after all, when you consider that living in England gave Mr. Bunker access to arcane historical data which is part of what makes this book so fascinating. The author delves into the background of many of the men who eventually sailed on the Mayflower. The England of the early 1600's was suffering economically, and thus it was not just for religious reasons that this courageous band set sail for New England. Of course, it was a gamble, their hope that a brighter future awaited them on another continent. Most of the men knew nothing about farming, but they did know that once having left England, there was probably no going back.
What then were the chief factors that caused the first permanent colony to become successful? The fur trade, (at times) cordial relations with the Indians, and the leadership provided by men like William Bradford all played a part in their democratic experience on distant shores. The Mayflower Compact, which all the men on the Mayflower signed, was to become an important document. Though based on English tenets, the Pilgrims adapted the Compact to suit the circumstances of what would become a new nation. Subsequent efforts at colonization found success, based partially on the models established by the men and women of the Mayflower.
Reviewed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library staff member Diane White