The strength of this book is the connection it makes with the Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the build-up to the English Civil War. I would have liked to have learned a bit more about the Plymouth colony, but I had the impression that Ms. Williams considered Plymouth to be somewhat of a backwater to the real action in Boston. This book did definitely fill in my knowledge about the 50-odd years after Plymouth. We tend to just think of the initial landings and exploration, but several times Ms. Williams points out that boatloads of people were arriving constantly at Boston, so that the population of Massachussetts by the 1640's was about 15,000. It's also interesting that once the Civil War started in England, and Charles was no longer making life unbearable for Puritans, the emmigration to the new world dropped rapidly. Her treatment of the build-up to the Civil War is useful, but seemed to hit the highlights, rather than going a little deeper. Some contemporaneous quotes, akin to Ken Burns documentary on the American Civil War, would have added much. It was also interesting that some of the first graduates of Harvard returned to England to fight with Parliament in the Civil War. George Downing of Downing Street in London was in Harvards first graduating class (p. 168-169).
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