Monday, May 26, 2008

Excerpt: A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horwitz

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Horwitz takes us through America’s first contact:
Plymouth, it turned out, wasn’t even the first English colony in New England. That distinction belonged to Fort St. George, in Popham, Maine -- a place I’d never heard of. Nor were Pilgrims the first to settle Massachusetts. In 1602, a band of English built a fort on the island of Cuttyhunk. They came, not for religious freedom, but to get rich from digging sassafras, a commodity prized in Europe as a cure for the clap.

History isn’t sport, where coming first means everything. The outposts at P
opham and Cuttyhunk were quickly abandoned, as were most of the early French and Spanish settlements. Plymouth endured, the English prevailed in the contest for the continent, and Anglo-American Protestants -- New Englanders, in particular -- molded the new nation's memory. And so a creation myth arose, of Pilgrim Fathers seeding a new land with their piety and work ethic. The winners wrote the history.
The full excerpt is here.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home