Friday, May 11, 2007

a gripping read

From a review by Ralph Shorto in the New York Times Book Review:

Not long after the Pilgrims set anchor in the harbor they called Plymouth in 1620, the Wampanoag leader Massasoit paid them a visit near their makeshift settlement and made a wary offer of friendship. It took several months for two of the Pilgrims to venture into the wilderness and return the gesture. When they
did, they noticed circular pits alongside the trails, which, the natives told them, were storytelling devices. Each of these "memory holes" was dug at a place where a remarkable act had occurred; every time Indians passed by these spots, they recounted the deeds. The Pilgrims, Nathaniel Philbrick says in his vivid and remarkably fresh retelling of the story of the earnest band of English men and women who became saddled with the sobriquet of America's founders, "began to see that they were traversing a mythic land, where a sense of community extended far into the distant past."

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