The Wordy Shipmates is a look at our Puritan roots. A book about the Puritans? Pretty dry stuff—unless it’s written by Sarah Vowell. But reading this book reminded me of someone who drives a SUV with off-road capabilities. You are humming along reading a rambling, but very interesting, story of the Puritans carving a civilization out of a wilderness, when you find yourself on a side road that takes you to a story line involving the Brady Bunch.
But when she writes of John Winthrop, Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and religious zealots, Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, and the Puritans’ Indian allies and/or enemies, it is a page turner. She brings a unique and often amusing perspective to this chapter in Colonial American history. As an American, she is an admirer of these people who wanted to build “a city on the hill” for all to emulate, but as a realist, she examines the contradictions of a God-fearing people who can burn an entire Pequot village, women and children included, and find that such an act is Bible based. Grade: A-