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Paperback The Puritan Dilemma: The Story of John Winthrop Book

ISBN: 0316582867

ISBN13: 9780316582865

The Puritan Dilemma: The Story of John Winthrop

(Part of the Library of American Biography Series and Library of American Biography Series)

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Book Overview

Caught between the ideals of God's Law and the practical needs of the people, John Winthrop walked a line few could tread. In every aspect of our society today we see the workings of the tension... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Excellent bio

Short and sweet is the word. Morgan is a first-rate historian who, unlike some of his colleagues, can write in an engaging way that draws in the average reader. This book will not only shed light on Winthrop, but is also the best description of puritanism that I have come across. If you want to understand this influential movement, and one of its most important leaders, here's your book.

The best from the best

Edmund S. Morgan is simply a wonderful historian and writer. As I get older I find I appreciate a writer who can get to the nub of his subject without blathering on for hundreds of unnecessary pages. This excellent short biography concisely tells the story of Winthrop's leading role in the Massachusetts Bay Colony established during the Great Migration of Puritans. Great books challenge us with new insights. Read this book and leave your preconceptions of Puritans behind.

An Excellent Resource to Understanding Early American Puritanism

This is an excellent overview of Winthrop and his Massachusetts Bay Colony. The author traces how John Winthrop struggled with the dilemma, first internally, as he dealt with the question of whether traveling to the New World represented a selfish form of "separatism", the desire to separate himself from an impure England, or whether, as he eventually determined, it offered a unique opportunity to set an example for all men by establishing a shining "City upon a Hill", a purer Christian community in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In this regard, it seems to have been of vital importance to Winthrop and his fellow Puritan colonists that they had the imprimatur of the King and that though they were physically distancing themselves from the Church of England, they were not actually renouncing it. The issues Winthrop faced are no different than what the Church still faces today (though perhaps seemingly less practical). That is, what is the normative and non-arbitrary basis for jurisprudence- Gods' law or autonomy? Gary North's books are particularly helpful in answering this, hopefully, rhetorical question. The sad reality is that most ecclesiastic officers and the Church as a whole are altogether unprepared to deal with the task presented to Winthrop because of their pessimillenialial views despite Christ's admonition that the (defensive!) Gates of Hades shall not prevail against His kingdom. I highly recommend this book.

A Great Insight into the Basic American Character

People often bemoan or praise the "Puritan work ethic" and the Puritan character as being judgemental (true), hardworking (true) and joyless (not true). For better or worse, the Puritans are so much at the core of the American character that it is fascinating to delve into the details of how they came to the New World and what they did. As an agnostic reader, I have no opinion of his religious beliefs, but John Winthrop's self-discipline, focus and all-round ability are fascinating. He was the original Go To guy, I suppose. I especially like the way they figured out how to govern themselves. I am sure if I was assigned this book in high school or college I would write similar reviews as many of the previous ones; but as a 50-year-old who is interested in American social history, I think this book is a winner, and Edmund Morgan is an excellent writer.

Still excellent

I read this book many years ago for an American Literature class and am now rereading it for an American History class. I enjoyed it the first time and am enjoying it now. The writing is fluid, entertaining; the points made are profound. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about Winthrop and the early Puritan immigrants--a quick, pleasurable read.
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