He wrote the book on Thanksgiving
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#1 Nov 17, 2007
I am grateful to the Connecticut Post for covering the discussion of my book at First Church Congregational in Fairfield.
As I tend to do when I get excited about a topic, I talked very fast during that discussion. This may explain several errors and inaccurate quotes in the article. Some, I feel, should be clarified.
- The correct title of the book is "Thanksgiving: The Pilgrims' First Year in America," not the "First Feast" in America. The book is about the year, not the feast. The apostrophe goes after the s in Pilgrims' because there were more than one.(The apostrophe problem recurs in paragraph 6 and the title in the final paragraph.)
- Squanto hadn't been to Europe four times. He had been across the Atlantic four times - two round trips to Europe.
- It isn't fair to say that the Pilgrims were "beset by sometimes hostile 'savages'." They were indeed attacked once, briefly, but all other encounters were peaceful and friendly.(I appreciate the quotes around "savages" because though that was the word the Pilgrims often used, its meaning in those days did not imply the violence or blood-thirstiness that it implies today. The "savages" demonstrated a goodwill that would be the envy of many "Christians.")
- Massasoit was a chief, not a tribe. His tribe was known as the Pokonoket.
- New London Librarium publishes books not necessarily of interest to readers in New England but books by writers in eastern Connecticut or books about that region.
As a journalist, I certainly sympathize with a reporter's daunting task of getting all the facts correct after being exposed to them only once, often at a fast clip and in an illogical sequence. I don't mean to criticize the reporter's efforts or good intentions. I just don't want readers to think that the author of a book of nonfiction didn't get the facts straight. I tried very hard to do so, and, unlike reporters for a daily paper, I had the luxury of ten years to check everything carefully.
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