Monday, March 26, 2007

Voyage to Freedom

Voyage To Freedom: A Story of the Atlantic Crossing 1620, David Gay
(Banner of Truth, 1984), pb., 149 pp.

We have a couple of books on the Pilgrims but opted to begin with this one. It was not a great choice. The style of the book is ponderous, and the vocabulary is difficult. It was frustrating reading. It seemed the author overdid it in an attempt at an elevated style. He would move into personification of the ship or storm in ways that were unclear and seemed forced. There was also a large amount of repetition. At points it seemed that almost every statement was repeated. Even where you might expect someone to say something twice for emphasis, it would be stated four times! This was annoying as I tried to read.

My boys especially like stories that incorporate children as main characters in the midst of historical events. The fact that this story was written from the perspective of a brother and sister provided some interest. There was a good example of forgiving enemies, some examples of earnest prayer, and a sobering account of a man who died rejecting God.

In the end we would not recommend this book. There are too many good books to be bogged down with one that is so laborious to read. The story of the Mayflower crossing can be told in a much better way.

UPDATE- While reading our next book on the Pilgrims, we have discovered some historical problems with this book. First, and most problematic, is the discussion of William Butten as a sailor who cursed the pilgrims and eventually died. Our current book says William Butten did indeed die of sickness on the voyage but he was a servant of one of the Pilgrims. Some searching confirmed that Butten was a servant and not a sailor. There apparently was a sailor who cursed the Pilgrims and then died, but he was not named William Butten.
Second, the book makes the point that no Pilgrims died on the voyage. This can be regarded as techincally accurate, but it is misleading when you make a point of God's protection from this. William Butten, a servant boy of one of the Pilgrims, did die on the voyage. You can get around this by saying he technically was not a Pilgrim himself. This seems a stretch. Then four other Pilgrims (including the wife of Williamd Bradford and one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact) died on board the Mayflower during the months of stay on board before a suitable dwelling was built on land. This signals less than careful handling of the facts.
Lastly, I should have mentioned this before, but the author often referred to the Pilgrims as Puritans. They were in fact Seperatists.



Post a Comment

<< Home