Thursday, May 19, 2016

Review of "If You Were Me and Lived In . . . Colonial America," by Carole P. Roman

Review of

If You Were Me and Lived In . . . Colonial America, by Carole P. Roman ISBN 9781523234073

Three out of five stars

Although the title indicates that the topic is colonial America, the content is almost totally confined to the experiences of the people now referred to as “the Pilgrims” and their colony in what is now New England. The experiences described are those of Plymouth Colony over the first few years of its existence. Other colonies are only indirectly mentioned, when paragraph-length biographies of Peter Minuit, William Penn and Captain John Smith are given at the end.
 The story is written at roughly the level of the second grade reader and is generally a good synopsis of the experiences of the people of Plymouth Colony. One significant weakness is that no map of the location of the colony is given, including one would have increased the educational value.
 There is also a major historical inaccuracy. On pages 12-14 the original two ships of Mayflower and Speedwell set sail from England, but major leaks in the Speedwell forced it to return. The Mayflower sailed on to America alone. On page 14 the landfall is described as if both ships reached the new world.
 There is a good deal of sanitation of the real experiences of the people of Plymouth Colony, for there is no mention of the numbers of deaths (45 out of 102 colonists) due to disease and malnutrition among the colonists or the tensions between the colonists and the Native Americans. The only hint of the tension is in the brief biography of Myles Standish, “Standish played an important role in defending the colony.” Given the circumstances, the only need for defense was against the Native Americans.
 Despite the omissions, this is a good book, giving the reader a solid sense of the experiences that the Pilgrims had as they left Europe and moved into the most unfamiliar of territories in an attempt to establish a new life free from the social controls that existed in Europe. 

This book was made available for free for review purposes.

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