John Winthrop: America's Forgotten Founding Father

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9780195149135: John Winthrop: America's Forgotten Founding Father
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The preeminent figure of early New England, John Winthrop was the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. More than anyone else, he shaped the culture of New England and his effort to create a Puritan "City on a Hill" has had a lasting effect on American values.
In John Winthrop, Francis J. Bremer draws on over a decade of research in England, Ireland, and the United States to offer a superb biography of Winthrop, one rooted in a detailed understanding of his first forty years in England. Indeed, Bremer provides an extensive, path-breaking treatment of Winthrop's family background, youthful development, and English career. His dissatisfaction with the decline of the "godly kingdom of the Stour Valley" in which he had been raised led him on his errand to rebuild such a society in a New England. In America, Winthrop would use the skills he had developed in England as he struggled with challenges from Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, among others, and defended the colony from English interference. We also see the personal side of Winthrop--the doubts and concerns of the spiritual pilgrim, his everyday labors and pleasures, his feelings for family and friends. And Bremer also sheds much light on important historical moments in England and America, such as the Reformation and the rise of Puritanism, the rise of the middling class, the colonization movement, and colonial relations with Native Americans.
Incorporating previously unexplored archival materials from both sides of the Atlantic, here is the definitive portrait of one of the giants of our history.

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About the Author:


Francis J. Bremer is Editor of the Winthrop Papers for the Massachusetts Historical Society. A pioneer in the trans-Atlantic approach to early American history, he has been a visiting scholar at Oxford and Cambridge. He is Professor of History at Millersville University and lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Review:


"Bremer's diligently researched work is the definitive landmark study of its subject."-Booklist


"An impressive, scholarly analysis of the life of John Winthrop."--Library Journal


"Bremer, editor of the Winthrop papers, draws on those papers to add tremendously to our understanding of this pivotal figure, eloquently reminding us in a rich, magisterial biography how much Winthrop contributed to the founding of the colonies.... Bremer's definitive biography gracefully portrays Winthrop as a man of his time, whose influence in the new colony grew out of his own struggles to establish his identity before he left England."--Publishers Weekly


"A richly researched life of the Massachusetts Bay Colony's first governor, arguing that the Puritan leader was more moderate than history has conveyed.... One of Bremer's great achievements is to add flesh to the previous, skeletal portraits of Winthrop's life in England before he sailed West in 1630.... This scholarly makeover adds considerable color to Winthrop's wan cheeks."--Kirkus Reviews


"Bremer's excellent and comprehensive biography restores Winthrop to his rightful place in American memory."--Weekly Standard


"His deeply learned book is so rich in physical description and offers so many subtle and surprising intellectual insights that it should appeal even to readers whose eyes otherwise glaze over reading about 17th-century theology. You might say that the times are so well described that we are carried through the life.... He has marshaled his deep knowledge of the 17th century to give us a new, passionate, moderate and community-centered Winthrop."--Minneapolis Star Tribune


"In his 1630 sermon 'A New Model of Christian Charity,' John Winthrop provided the defining and enduring metaphor of America as the 'City Set on A Hill.' Too long has the person behind the vision been lost to the obscurities of 17th century Puritanism. Frank Bremer has now restored him to his rightful place as the first founding father in the American pantheon."--Peter J. Gomes, Pusey Minister in The Memorial Church, Harvard University


"A wonderful achievement. The story of Winthrop's pilgrimage from unendurable stress in the Old World to endurable stress in the New World is captured with a freshness and vividness that kept me enthralled. The result is a convincing recreation of Winthrop's mental and physical worlds. This is one of the great early modern biographies."--John Morrill, University of Cambridge


"In this remarkable biography of John Winthrop, Bremer brings to life the English society that shaped John Winthrop's character and purpose and the colonial society that was in turn shaped by him. A major contribution to the field of puritan studies."--Carol Berkin, Baruch College and The Graduate Center, CUNY


"This is a splendid work, not afraid to take sides with its subject, but always judicious and sensitive to the context of a life spent in two continents. Bremer's study has wider implications than one man's career; he has thrown a flood of light on the beginnings of the Anglo-American world." --Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church, Oxford University.


"A brilliantly-researched example of what is now often termed the 'new' Atlantic History. Drawing upon archives in England and Massachusetts, he reconstructs the career of Governor John Winthrop, showing from a fresh and original perspective what it meant to be a Puritan."--T.H. Breen, Northwestern University


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