Suggestions for Further Reading


General Histories:

Francis J. Bremer, Puritanism: A Very Short Introduction, (2009).

A brief overview of the history and ideas of the puritan movement, of which the pilgrims were a part.

Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs, Strangers and Pilgrims, Travellers and Sojourners: Leiden and the Foundations of Plymouth Plantation (2009).

The best recent study of the pilgrims’ origins from the formation of the congregation in Scrooby to the first months in New England.

Rebecca Fraser, The Mayflower: The Families, the Voyage, and the Founding of America (2017).

A very accessible retelling of the Pilgrim story with a focus on Edward Winslow.

Nathaniel Philbrick, Mayflower: A Study of Courage, Community, and War (2006).

Philbrick has much to say about the evolution of the pilgrims’ relations with the region’s natives.

Nick Bunker, Making Haste from Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World: A New History (2010).

This work is particularly useful for understanding the economics of the colonial venture.

Lisa Brooks, Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War (2018).

This work focuses on the later half of the seventeenth-century, but has important insights into the nature of Wampanoag society.


Key primary sources for the study of early Plymouth:

Click on the below links to view a digitized version of the work courtesy of the Internet Archive.

William Bradford, History of Plimoth Plantation.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society and the Colonial Society of Massachusetts have combined under the aegis of New England Beginning to produce a new edition of William Bradford’s Of Plimoth Plantation. An online edition of this work will rigorously follow the original text, while a print edition will incorporate minor modernizations of spelling and punctuation to make it more accessible to general readers. This edition, scheduled to appear in early 2020, will be newly annotated and will restore to their original locations materials that previous editions had moved to appendixes. Until this new edition is available, the standard edition is Samuel Eliot Morison’sOf Plymouth Plantation: 1620–1647 (1952).

Mourt’s Relation or Journal of the Plantation at Plymouth.

This volume is a collection of contributions by colonists George Morton, Robert Cushman, William Bradford, and Edward Winslow and was published in London in 1622. Mourt’s Relation is also available in a modern printing with an introduction by Dwight B. Heath.

Edward Winslow, Good Newes from New England (1624).

This work, by Edward Winslow, chronicles the early experience of the Plimoth colonists in the New World. Kelly Wisecup has edited a scholarly edition of Good News from New England that includes additional documents.

Edward Winslow, Hypocrisie Unmasked (1646).

This work is one of a couple of pamphlets penned by Edward Winslow, after he had returned to England following the English Civil War, in defense of the New England Colonies. Unedited modern printings of Hypocrisie Unmasked are also available.

Nathaniel Morton, New-England’s Memorial (1669).

Nathanial Morton, who was the Secretary of Plymouth Colony, maintained the records of the colony and used them to produce this work which is widely considered the first comprehensive history of the colony. Unedited modern printings of New England’s Memorial are also available.

Thomas Morton, New English Canaan (1637).

This pamphlet is a hostile contemporary account by an avowed enemy of the colony. A modern edition of New English Canaan has been edited by Jack Dempsey.

Nathaniel Philbrick and Thomas Philbrick, editors, The Mayflower Papers: Selected Writings of Colonial New England (2007).

This volume includes selections from a number of the above works, and other contemporary works, in a more modern and accessible format.

Robert Cushman, The Cry of a Stone: A Treatise Showing What Is Right Matter, Form, and Government of the Visible Church of Christ (1642).

Robert Cushman was one of the deacons of the Plymouth congregation; his book was not published until 1642, years after his death. A modern edition, transcribed and annotated by James W. Baker and edited by Michael R. Paulick, was published in 2016.


New Studies for the four-hundredth anniversary of the Mayflower:

David Silverman, This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving (2019)

Francis J. Bremer, One Small Candle: The Story of the Plymouth Puritans and the Beginning of English New England (2020)

Jeremy D. Bangs, New Light on the Old Colony (2020)

John Turner, They Knew They Were Pilgrims: Plymouth Colony and the Contest for American Liberty (2020)

Peter C. Mancall, The Trials of Thomas Morton: An Anglican Lawyer, His Puritan Foes, and the Battle for a New England (2019)

Information regarding the publication of new books (including the new Bradford edition), further suggestions for reading about the colonists, and news of other events related to the cultures that shaped New England can be found on the website, New England Beginnings.