Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Mayflower

The Mayflower

The Families, the Voyage, and the Founding of America

Rebecca Fraser

St. Martin's Press




From acclaimed historian and biographer Rebecca Fraser comes a vivid narrative history of the Mayflower and of the Winslow family, who traveled to America in search of a new world.

The voyage of the Mayflower and the founding of Plymouth Colony is one of the seminal events in world history. But the poorly-equipped group of English Puritans who ventured across the Atlantic in the early autumn of 1620 had no sense they would pass into legend. They had eighty casks of butter and two dogs but no cattle for milk, meat, or ploughing. They were ill-prepared for the brutal journey and the new land that few of them could comprehend. But the Mayflower story did not end with these Pilgrims’ arrival on the coast of New England or their first uncertain years as settlers. Rebecca Fraser traces two generations of one ordinary family and their extraordinary response to the challenges of life in America.

Edward Winslow, an apprentice printer, fled England and then Holland for a life of religious freedom and opportunity. Despite the intense physical trials of settlement, he found America exotic, enticing, and endlessly interesting. He built a home and a family, and his remarkable friendship with King Massassoit, Chief of the Wampanoags, is part of the legend of Thanksgiving. Yet, fifty years later, Edward’s son Josiah was commanding the New England militias against Massassoit’s son in King Philip’s War.

The Mayflower is an intensely human portrait of the Winslow family written with the pace of an epic. Rebecca Fraser details domestic life in the seventeenth century, the histories of brave and vocal Puritan women and the contradictions between generations as fathers and sons made the painful decisions which determined their future in America.




There was nothing in the annals of family history to suggest that Edward Winslow, and eventually his younger brothers, would migrate to live in a religious colony 3,000 miles away. Everything about his early life...


Praise for The Mayflower

“Superbly written and enthralling . . . The Mayflower reads as though it were historical fiction, with a varied cast of characters and perspectives, fine details, background histories, and a holistic approach.”

“Fraser’s smooth storytelling provides a revealing look into the development of the [Plymouth] colony, the rise of the Massachusetts Bay Company, and the different outlooks on the community and the lure of land. The story of the Winslows is an effective way to experience the emotions and fears of the small band who dauntlessly sailed off to the New World.” Kirkus Reviews

“A superb account . . . This book stands as a significant contribution to the already well documented field of Pilgrim history . . . a must read for those interested in the unique beginnings of America” – Cynthia Hagar Krusell, Historian and Author of The Winslows of Careswell in Marshfield

“Rebecca Fraser’s exquisitely researched book seems to offer something new to learn – and wonder over – on every page. . . . The Pilgrims believed that ‘the world could begin afresh in America,’ this gifted historian writes. As,eventually, it did. Deftly, indelibly, Fraser shows us the human cost.” – Penelope Rowlands, Journalist and Author of Aaron Burr's Second Act

“The author puts the reader into the period with a front-row seat as the story unfolds . . . Fraser’s attention to historical detail is excellent and enhances this riveting book!” – Judith H. Swan, Former Governor General, General Society of Mayflower Descendants

“A well written and far ranging perspective on the Pilgrims and seventeenth century New England by a noted student of English history.” – Francis J.Bremer, Coordinator, New England Beginnings and Author of Lay Empowerment and the Development of Puritanism

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Rebecca Fraser

Rebecca Fraser, daughter of noted British historian Lady Antonia Fraser, is the author of The Story of Britain, which has been described as "an elegantly written, impressively well-informed single-volume history of how England was governed during the past 2000 years." A reviewer and broadcaster, her previous work also includes a biography of Charlotte Brontë which examined her life within the framework of contemporary attitudes to women. Rebecca Fraser was President of the Brontë Society for many years.

Rebecca Fraser

Jan Wright

Rebecca Fraser

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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