Cover image for William Bradford : rock of Plymouth
William Bradford : rock of Plymouth
Doherty, Kieran.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Brookfield, Conn. : Twenty-First Century Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
192 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
A biography of one of the founders of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts and a history of the Pilgrims' difficult times during their early years in the New World.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F68.B8235 D64 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Who was William Bradford? It's easy to call up an image of a Pilgrim Father -- think of any Thanksgiving picture you've seen since elementary school -- black and white clothes, big brass buckles; a rugged, healthy man looking bravely toward the future in a new land. In fact, that image doesn't accurately describe Bradford or any of the Pilgrims. Pilgrims wore very colorful clothes at times, and we know that buckles didn't exist until much later. We also know that good nutrition was a challenge, to say the least. Book jacket.

Author Notes

Author Kieran Doherty has had a long career as a writer of nonfiction but has only recently turned his attention to writing for young adults. His first book, for The Millbrook Press, was a biography of another colonist, William Penn. Kieran Doherty lives with his wife in Lake Worth, Florida.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-10. Most books on the Pilgrims don't take the story much beyond the first Thanksgiving, but Doherty presents a more complete, complex picture of the Plymouth Colony. The focus is on William Bradford, the governor of the colony during its first turbulent decades. Because wide gaps exist in the record of Bradford's life, Doherty is frequently forced to speculate on the governor's thoughts and the reasons for his actions, but this well-researched, enlightening account is not just Bradford's story. It's a story of the entire colony in which some familiar myths are challenged: the colonists, for example, are portrayed as a diverse group, not uniformly religious, with one or two scoundrels who came along for the ride. A few black-and-white reproductions of paintings and engravings are included, as well as source notes, a chronology, and a bibliography. --Todd Morning

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-9-Report writers and those interested in Colonial America will welcome this biography. In his preface, Doherty briefly outlines the shortage of source material on his subject's life and indicates that he has occasionally "used [his] own common sense-backed by research-to add `flesh' to William Bradford's character." Such speculation is clearly identified when it occurs in the text. Like Gary Schmidt in William Bradford (Eerdmans, 1999), Doherty quotes extensively from Bradford's own history, Of Plymouth Plantation. He obviously has a great deal of respect and admiration for Bradford, but is careful to point out weaknesses and treats potentially controversial incidents evenhandedly. Some actions that might seem particularly startling to modern readers (bringing back the head of Wituwamat to display in the settlement) are placed in historical context (English colonists would have seen heads decorating Tower Bridge in London). This is a clear and thoughtful presentation of Bradford's life and of the Pilgrims' settlement in the New World. The book has fewer illustrations than Schmidt's title, and they're primarily paintings of imagined scenes and a few more or less contemporary prints. Unfortunately, there are no maps.-Elaine Fort Weischedel, Turner Free Library, Randolph, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 7
Chapter 1 Birth and Boyhoodp. 9
Chapter 2 An Adventure Almost Desperatep. 19
Chapter 3 The Pilgrims in Hollandp. 26
Chapter 4 Trials at Seap. 39
Chapter 5 The Mayflower Compactp. 49
Chapter 6 The First Discoveriesp. 56
Chapter 7 Plymouthp. 65
Chapter 8 The Time of Most Distressp. 74
Chapter 9 The First Thanksgivingp. 90
Chapter 10 Troubles from Within and Withoutp. 98
Chapter 11 Indian Troublesp. 108
Chapter 12 The End of Communismp. 116
Chapter 13 Tribulations, Trials, and a New Beginningp. 129
Chapter 14 Into the Briarsp. 140
Chapter 15 The Cost of Prosperityp. 154
Chapter 16 The End of the Pilgrimagep. 167
Chronologyp. 176
Source Notesp. 178
Bibliographyp. 187
Indexp. 189