Since Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching I thought that I would share a few books that are about the time period a few decades before the sailing of the Mayflower. They have helped me better understand the time period as I research the reasons behind why many of my ancestors migrated to America.
I will start with The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer. This is a wonderful book that gives a good account of what life was like in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
This book helps you really understand what life was like for people of different classes in England. What did they wear? What did they eat? How did they interact with other people? How did they worship? What were the politics? So many things are covered in this book and it is interesting to think of where my ancestors fit into this society.
I have only partially read this book, but am about ready to pick it up again to finish it. I started to read it last Thanksgiving, but my Dad picked it up and I let him read it. It is again near the top of my to-read list.
The book is 1603: The Death of Queen Elizabeth I, the Return of the Black Plague, the Rise of Shakespeare, Piracy, Witchcraft, and the Birth of the Stuart Era by Christopher Lee.
This book is about a pivotal year in history. This was a time of upheaval in England and led to the Pilgrim and Puritan migrations to America. I want to know more about the environment in England that many of my ancestors who immigrated to America grew up in. What forces came together that prompted them to immigrate? What type of freedoms were they looking for?
This is the fourth post that I have written that has this book in it. The paragraph above is from my post Books with a Year in the Title. The book was also in Historic Book Acquisitions V when I first picked it up at the book store and in Research Reading V where I featured books related to Roger Williams.
I also recently read 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro. This was an interesting book that looked at a pivotal year in the like of Shakespeare. I really liked how it covered the literary scene and what books and other writings were available for Shakespeare at local book sellers.
The book also covers some of the history of the Globe theatre and some of the plays that Shakespeare wrote.
I had thought about including another book that I had read about the Kings in Shakespeare, but they are all well before this time frame so the book will be covered in another post someday about Shakespeare.
I will close with A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia by Thomas Harriott. I am sure that some of my ancestors would have seen this book as they contemplated moving from England to America.
Most of my ancestors ended up far to the north of Virginia. However, we often forget that the Mayflower was actually headed to Virginia. They were not supposed to settle where they did in Plymouth Colony.
Now back to reading.