Nick Bunker: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World

WED, MAY 26, 2010 (43:31)

Journalist and historian Nick Bunker steps into a long-past world with his book, Making Haste from Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World; A New History.

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 an 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.

+ BIO: Nick Bunker

Nick Bunker worked as an investigative reporter for the Liverpool Echo, and for six years he wrote for the Financial Times. He was an Open Scholar at King's College, Cambridge, where he won two university prizes. He has two graduate degrees from Columbia University in New York, where he studied under the late Professor Edward Said. While at Columbia he began his travels around the US. For many years, he served as a board member, treasurer and Chairman of the Trustees of the Freud Museum in London. He now lives in Lincoln, near the villages from which the leaders of the Plymouth Colony came.

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