Wampanoags, Pilgrims, and Feasts: A Reading List for Thanksgiving

Thu, 11/15/2018 - 12:31pm -- baglio

 Thanksgiving is upon us with all the trappings of the modern holiday that we know and love (parades, football, and a ridiculous amount of food), but how much do we know about the historical event from almost four centuries ago that inspired our modern celebration? This Thanksgiving reading list brings together books about the Wampanoag tribe (indigenous to the land that would become Plymouth Plantation and key to the story of Thanksgiving), a number of historical (and occasionally fictionalized or mythologized) perspectives on the lives of the Pilgrims and their journey on the Mayflower, texts examining the symbols and monuments that we associate with Thanksgiving today, and, of course, cookbooks full of traditional New England recipes to help you plan your own Thanksgiving feasts. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

The Wampanoag Indian Federation

By, Milton Travers

This fascinating collection of information about the late Neolitic people who controlled and comprised the Wampanoag Indian Federation of the Algonquin Nation was compiled as a result of a deep rooted pride and loyalty to the traditions of a beloved country. It is the product of a curiosity sustained through many years of exhaustive studies, conversations and research which have resulted in a volume that has long been needed.

The Wampanoag Indian Tribes were a once powerful and haughty people. They and the Pequot's, the Narrangansetts, the Massachusetts, and the Pawtucketts were the confederate tribes which comprised the Algonquin Indian Nation native to New England.

The W. Federation played a great part in the early life of the colonies,, for it was they, under the friendly leadership of the great Sachem Massasoit, who guided and helped the Pilgrims through the perils and hardships of their first forty years on the soil of the New World.

The present work is an attempt to compile, from numerous scattered and nearly discarded sources, the available historical data on this tribe. It is by no means complete or exhaustive but relevant material form a vast body of writings and references.

 

The Wampanoag

By, Laurie Weinstein-Farson

"The Wampanoag" (1989) is one of the books in the series "Indians of North America" issued by the Chelsea House Publishers. The 63 titles run from "The Abenaki" to "The Zuni," and are aimed at a Young Adult (YA) audience, but may be read with interest by any age group. Each of the books begins with an introduction, "Indians of North America: Conflict and Survival" by the General Editor, Frank W. Porter III which can be summarized by a quotation by John Steinbeck:

 

Making Haste from Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World: A New History

By, Nick Bunker

At the end of 1618, a blazing green star soared across the night sky over the northern hemisphere. From the Philippines to the Arctic, the comet became a sensation and a symbol, a warning of doom or a promise of salvation. Two years later, as the Pilgrims prepared to sail across the Atlantic on board the Mayflower, the atmosphere remained charged with fear and expectation. Men and women readied themselves for war, pestilence, or divine retribution. Against this background, and amid deep economic depression, the Pilgrims conceived their enterprise of exile.

Within a decade, despite crisis and catastrophe, they built a thriving settlement at New Plymouth, based on beaver fur, corn, and cattle. In doing so, they laid the foundations for Massachusetts, New England, and a new nation. Using a wealth of new evidence from landscape, archaeology, and hundreds of overlooked or neglected documents, Nick Bunker gives a vivid and strikingly original account of the Mayflower project and the first decade of the Plymouth Colony. From mercantile London and the rural England of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I to the mountains and rivers of Maine, he weaves a rich narrative that combines religion, politics, money, science, and the sea.

The Pilgrims were entrepreneurs as well as evangelicals, political radicals as well as Christian idealists. Making Haste from Babylon tells their story in unrivaled depth, from their roots in religious conflict and village strife at home to their final creation of a permanent foothold in America.

 
 
By, Kate Caffrey
 
The ship itself was obscure and small, valued at a mere 128 pounds, eight shillings, and fourpence. Each passenger had a total area the size of a single mattress under a five-foot ceiling in which to cook, eat, sleep, dress and all the rest of living.
During the months-long journey, one Pilgrim died. Another, washed overboard, was miraculously washed back on deck. A crew member, not so fortunate, perished. The landing at Plymouth was on the morning of Monday, December 11, 1620.
Ahead of this brave band lay a harsh winter, which robbed more than half the settlers of their lives. When spring came at last, 54 people were left, 21 of them under sixteen. But when the Mayflower sailed back to England, not one survivor asked to return.
The men and women of the Mayflower did not come seeking fame or profit. They sought—and found—peace. The agreement they drew up before landing was described by John Quincy Adams as “the first example in modern times of a social compact or system of government instituted by voluntary agreement conformable to the laws of nature, by men of equal rights and about to establish their community in a new country.”
This book reconstructs the voyage that linked European civilization and America, the facts behind what was to become the first legend of the American people, a pioneering journey that took nearly four centuries to come to life as it does in these pages.
 
 
 
By, Glenn Cheney
 
Thanksgiving is not a book about a holiday. It s about something that a few dozen survivors did after a year of suffering, death, struggle, and courage. 
They bowed their heads to give thanks. 
The Pilgrims journey began as a joint venture of business and religion, but soon it became a matter of survival. 
With 102 men, women, and children packed into a dim, wet space below the main deck, the Mayflower set out on a terrifying 66-day crossing of the Atlantic. They dropped anchor well north of where they d intended, and just as the New England winter was setting in.
With no choice but to spend the winter in the dank, frigid ship, they took ill. One by one, almost half of them died. The few individuals well enough to work rowed the dead into shore and buried them in graves left unmarked so the Indians wouldn't know how weak they were.
Spring promised only a year of toil and difficulties as they attempted to settle new land in a place they called Plymouth. 
But then a miracle walked out of the woods...an Indian who had already crossed the Atlantic four times. He spoke English very well. He showed them how to catch the local fish and grow the local crops. He introduced them to the local people, and in an experience unique in colonial history, Europeans and Indians became friends and allies. 
And that autumn, the new and native Americans came together for a feast that lasted three days. Thanksgiving is a book of fact that all but breathes with the human drama of life, death, birth, hope, prayer, work, desperation, and thanks. 
Though these few dozen people were hardly the first Europeans to settle in North America, their values and beliefs grew into the American culture. We are what they were. 
Every American should read this book before bowing for grace on Thanksgiving Day.
 
 
 
By, Thomas Fleming
 
This vivid, deeply moving book begins in London in 1620 as Pilgrim representatives sign a contract to purchase the freighter Mayflower. We accompany them on their harrowing voyage across the Atlantic, through the rigors of the first New England winter and the threat of Indian attack as they desperately search for the home they eventually find at Plymouth. Once there, they must continue the struggle against brutal weather and disease.
With masterly skill, New York Times bestselling historian Thomas Fleming gives us life-size portraits of the Pilgrim leaders. The Pilgrims' unique achievements - the Mayflower Compact, their tolerance of other faiths, the strict separation of church and state - are discussed in the context of the first year's anxieties and crises. Fleming writes admiringly of the younger men who emerged in that year as the real leaders of the colony - William Bradford and Miles Standish. And he provides new insights into the humanity and tolerance of the Pilgrims' spiritual shepherd, Elder William Brewster.
On the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims are already aware that they are the forerunners of a great nation. It is implicit in William Bradford's words, "As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light kindled here has shone unto many. 
 
 
 
By, Nathaniel Philbrick
 
How did America begin? That simple question launches the acclaimed author of In the Hurricane's Eye and Valiant Ambition on an extraordinary journey to understand the truth behind our most sacred national myth: the voyage of the Mayflower and the settlement of Plymouth Colony. As Philbrick reveals in this electrifying history of the Pilgrims, the story of Plymouth Colony was a fifty-five year epic that began in peril and ended in war. New England erupted into a bloody conflict that nearly wiped out the English colonists and natives alike. These events shaped the existing communites and the country that would grow from them.
 
 
 
By, John Seeyle
 
Long celebrated as a symbol of the country's origins, Plymouth Rock no longer receives much national attention. In fact, historians now generally agree that the Pilgrims' storied landing on the Rock never actually took place--the tradition having emerged more than a century after the arrival of the Mayflower.
In Memory's Nation, however, John Seelye is not interested in the factual truth of the landing. He argues that what truly gives Plymouth Rock its significance is more than two centuries of oratorical, literary, and artistic celebrations of the Pilgrims' arrival. Seelye traces how different political, religious, and social groups used the image of the Rock on behalf of their own specific causes and ideologies. Drawing on a wealth of speeches, paintings, and popular illustrations, he shows how Plymouth Rock changed in meaning over the years, beginning as a symbol of freedom evoked in patriotic sermons at the start of the Revolution and eventually becoming an icon of exclusion during the 1920s.
 
 
 
By, Edna Barth
 
 The story of the most truly American holiday and the development of its symbols and legends.
Each of our holidays has its own familiar traditions: Trick-or-treating on Halloween, eating turkey on Thanksgiving, waiting for Santa Claus on Christmas, exchanging cards on Valentine’s Day. But where do these customs come from, when did they begin, and why do we continue to observe them?
In the engaging blend of careful research and lively prose that has earned her books a lasting place on the holiday bookshelf, Edna Barth explores the multicultural origins and evolution of the familiar and not-so-familiar symbols and legends associated with our favorite holidays. Full of fascinating historical details and little-known stories, these books are both informative and engaging. Festively illustrated by Ursula Arndt, they are now available again in hardcover as well as paperback editions, featuring new, eye-catching jacket designs, and fun holiday activities inside the paperback covers. Each book includes an annotated list of holiday stories and poems and an index.
 
 
 
 
By, John Demos
 
This groundbreaking study examines the family in the context of the colony founded by the Pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower. Basing his work on physical artifacts, wills, estate inventories, and a variety of legal and official enactments, Demos portrays the family as a structure of roles and relationships, emphasizing those of husband and wife, parent and child, and master and servant. The book's most startling insights come from a reconsideration of commonly-held views of American Puritans and of the ways in which they dealt with one another. Demos concludes that Puritan "repression" was not as strongly directed against sexuality as against the expression of hostile and aggressive impulses, and he shows how this pattern reflected prevalent modes of family life and child-rearing. The result is an in-depth study of the ordinary life of a colonial community, located in the broader environment of seventeenth-century America.
 
 
 
By, Marjorie Blanchard
 
Recipes that have been utilized in New England kitchens during the 17th and 18th Centuries.
 
 
 
By, Brooke Donjy
 
A witty, authoritative, and comprehensive celebration of cooking in the New England style with over 350 recipes for soups, salads, appetizers, breads, main courses, vegetables, jams and preserves, and desserts. Brooke Dojny, a native New Englander, has adapted traditional recipes to modern tastes by streamlining cooking methods and adding contemporary ingredients. She has also included such Yankee classics as North End Clams Casino, Wellfleet Oysters on the Half Shell with Mango Mignonette, Hashed Chicken with Dried Cranberries, Maine-Style Molasses Baked Yellow-Eyes, New England Cobb Salad, Shaker Whipped Winter Squash with Cape Cod Cranberries, Wood-Grilled Steak au Poivre with a Vegetable Bouquet, Pan-Seared Venison Steaks with Peppery Beach Plum Sauce, Succulent Braised Chicken Portuguese Style, Little Italy Calamari in Spicy Red Sauce, Grilled Chive-Tarragon Lobster, Reach House Blueberry Cobbler, and Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding.
 
 
 
By, Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald
 
If you think traditional New England cooking is little more than baked beans and clam chowder, think again. In this enticing anthology of almost 400 historic New England recipes from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century, you will be treated to such dishes as wine-soaked bass served with oysters and cranberries, roast shoulder of lamb seasoned with sweet herbs, almond cheesecake infused with rosewater, robust Connecticut brown bread, zesty ginger nuts, and high-peaked White Mountain cake.
Beginning with four chapters placing the region's best-known cookbook authors and their works in nuanced historical context, Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald then proceed to offer a ten-chapter cornucopia of culinary temptation. Readers can sample regional offerings grouped into the categories of the liquid one-pot meal, fish, fowl, meat and game, pie, pudding, bread, and cake. Recipes are presented in their original textual forms and are accompanied by commentaries designed to make them more accessible to the modern reader. Each chapter, and each section within each chapter, is also prefaced by a brief introductory essay. From pottage to pie crust, from caudle to calf's head, historic methods and obscure meanings are thoroughly―sometimes humorously―explained. 
Going beyond reprints of single cookbooks and bland adaptations of historic recipes, this richly contextualized critical anthology puts the New England cooking tradition on display in all its unexpected―and delicious―complexity. Northern Hospitality will equip readers with all the tools they need for both historical understanding and kitchen adventure.