By Douglas Anderson
Widely regarded as the most important narrative of seventeenth-century New England, William Bradford's Of Plimmoth Plantation is one of the founding documents of American literature and history. In William Bradford's Books this portrait of the religious dissenters who emigrated from the Netherlands to New England in 1620 receives perhaps its sharpest textual analysis to date―and the first since that of Samuel Eliot Morison two generations ago. Far from the gloomy elegy that many readers find, Bradford's history, argues Douglas Anderson, demonstrates remarkable ambition and subtle grace, as it contemplates the adaptive success of a small community of religious exiles. Anderson offers fresh literary and historical accounts of Bradford's accomplishment, exploring the context and the form in which the author intended his book to be read.