Today’s “Summer Reading List” entries are by Historical Society Board member Jim Batchelder
I have two books on my list to read this summer. The first is “Mayflower” by Nathaniel Philbrick. On the New York Times best seller list in 2006, Philbrick spins a new slant on the Pilgrims voyage across the Atlantic and the founding of the Plymouth Colony. His focus is the relationships between the settlers and the Native Americans who assured their survival that first year. The story takes us through the relatively peaceful beginning of the plantation through the King Phillip’s War and the establishment of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Relationships built on necessity; fear, trust and friendship are revealed through the eyes of both the settlers and the Native Americans.
The second book is “An Artist in Treason: The Extraordinary Life of General James Wilkinson by Andro Linklater 2009. This is an appropriate story today given the Spy roundup of this past week. Nothing new in the field of espionage, as we read through this story of James Wilkinson who rose to the top under George Washington and became the youngest General at age 20. A real charmer, Wilkinson was also a double agent working with Spain for personal gain. Considered a pivotal player during the Revolutionary War and if not a founding father a founding patriot, he would ultimately expose the Aaron Burr conspiracy. He undermined Benedict Arnold’s career and that of General Gage. He ultimately chooses patriotism over personal gain and in doing so kept a fledgling nation together.