February 5, 2013

Book Review: The Puritan Dilemma - The Story of John Winthrop

Author: Edmund S. Morgan
Genre: US, English, and Religious History

John Winthrop was a Puritan.  A Puritan was a Calvinist.  A Calvinist is someone who sees God's hand in everything.  A Puritan did not call himself a Puritan.  A Puritan called himself a godly man striving to please the Lord in all aspects of life.  The Puritans of the early colonial Massachusetts Bay Colony segregated into two contemporary Christian denominations: the Presbyterians and the Congregationalists.

In 1629, John Winthrop found himself elected as the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony on an expedition to the largely desolate New World.  Four ships landed near the Charles River in present day New England in April 1630.  Until his death in 1949, Winthrop served 12 annual terms as governor, and played a vital role in strengthening and building the New England colonies.  He proved himself a competent, intelligent, and persuasive leader who created peace among men with tendencies to disagree.  He paved the road to the representative form of democracy that the United States experiences today.

I highly recommend this book.  Subectively written, the author does an excellent job of understanding the mind of a Puritan and explaining their actions and decisions. The writing flows well and involves the reader. I found myself with an open map next to me looking up towns as I read.