"The Wordy Shipmates" is "New York Times"abestselling author Sarah Vowellas exploration of the Puritans and their journey to America to become the people of John Winthropas acity upon a hillaaa shining example, a acity that cannot be hid.a
To this day, America views itself as a Puritan nation, but Vowell investigates what that meansa and what it should mean. What was this great political enterprise all about? Who were these people who are considered the philosophical, spiritual, and moral ancestors of our nation? What Vowell discovers is something far different from what their uptight shoe-buckles-and- corn reputation might suggest. The people she finds are highly literate, deeply principled, and surprisingly feisty. Their story is filled with pamphlet feuds, witty courtroom dramas, and bloody vengeance. Along the way she asks:
*Was Massachusetts Bay Colony governor John Winthrop a communitarian, a Christlike Christian, or conformityas tyrannical enforcer? "Answer: Yes!"
*Was Rhode Islandas architect, Roger Williams, Americaas founding freak or the father of the First Amendment? "Same difference."
*What does it take to get that jezebel Anne Hutchinson to shut up? "A hatchet."
*What was the Puritansa pet name for the Pope? "The Great Whore of Babylon."
Sarah Vowellas special brand of armchair history makes the bizarre and esoteric fascinatingly relevant and fun. She takes us from the modern-day reenactment of an Indian massacre to the Mohegan Sun casino, from old-timey Puritan poetry, where arighteousnessa is rhymed with awilderness, a to a Mayflower-themed waterslide. Throughout, "The Wordy Shipmates" is rich in historical fact, humorous insight, and socialcommentary by one of Americaas most celebrated voices. Thou shalt enjoy it.