Sunday, November 23, 2008

Five best rare books on early America

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, a former rare-books dealer, named a five best list of "rare books on early America" for the Wall Street Journal.

Number One on the list:
Mourt's Relation
by William Bradford and Edward Winslow

For narrative suspense and visual detail, few accounts of the Plymouth colony's first year can match this report by the Mayflower passengers William Bradford and Edward Winslow. ("Mourt's Relation" refers to the Bradford family connection who published the work.) We see them wading ashore in the fall of 1620, wary of the unseen natives but obliged to seek them out to barter for food. For days they find only clues: a distant plume of smoke, the shallow grave of a child, abandoned huts, the head of a freshly killed deer. Finally, one evening: the cry "Indians! Indians!" and a hail of arrows. A year later, with the group of 102 nearly halved by frost and disease, the Pilgrims sit down to an autumn feast. The Indians, now friendly, join them.
Read about all five titles on da Fonseca-Wollheim's list.

--Marshal Zeringue