Friday, November 7, 2008

Thirteen Books That Shaped America

When I heard about this book in a teaser on NPR I was trying to guess which one's were listed. It never occurred to me that one of them would be in the family. William Bradford is my 12th great grandfather. Apparently he wouldn't be too pleased with me right now as the excerpt about reforming the church below points out. (Maybe if he had a bigger hat he wouldn't look so cranky.)

Bradford's account of the early Pilgrim adventures offered an alternative reality, a world in which fiercely united and determined men and women put their faith firmly in the will of God. They reveled in their independence from the Church of England and its hierarchies, which had forced them into exile in Holland. Unlike other Puritans who settled in New England (mostly in Massachusetts), these were the hard core, known as Separatists. They did not believe in trying to reform the Anglican church from within, as did most Puritans. They might well have remained in Leyden, where most of them were concentrated, had poverty as well as the prospect of Holland being overrun by Spanish Catholics not prompted them to set off for the New World.

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