Myth and the Mayflower

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

For Fourth of July reading, George F. Will [op-ed, July 4] recommended a deeply flawed book, "Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War," by Nathaniel Philbrick.

As a descendant of militia captain Benjamin Church, one of the two main historical figures in the book, I wish to stress the unreliability of my ancestor's account of King Philip's War, upon which Mr. Philbrick relied heavily.

Harvard historian Jill Lepore handily makes this case in her New Yorker article of April 24, "Plymouth Rocked," and in her groundbreaking 1998 book, "The Name of the War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity."



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