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Robert D. San Souci

N.C. Wyeth's Pilgrims

Robert D. San Souci N.C. Wyeth's Pilgrims
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The adventurous saga of the settling of the Plymouth Colony is strikingly portrayed in this magnificent book. Spectacular paintings by renowned artist N.C. Wyeth, gloriously bring to life the carefully researched text by well known children's book author Robert San Souci. The story of the Pilgrims, including the first Thanksgiving, is a central part of America's history and, over the course of time, it has taken on an almost mythical quality. Drawing upon a variety of resources, including the author's trip to the Plimouth Plantation, the text dispels some popular misconceptions about the setting of our nation as it broadens our understanding of the bravery and determination of our forebears. A beautiful artbook as well as an informative history book, N.C Wyeth's Pilgrims belongs in every home, library, and classroom.

--THE HORN BOOK MAGAZINE, December 1991
N. C. Wyeth's Pilgrims consists of portions of murals Wyeth did for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in 1940; a fine text by Robert San Souci; and superlative production by Chronicle Books. Wyeth's restored colors glow with incomparable crystalline brilliance. As a history buff living close to Plymouth, I am delighted with San Souci's straightforward telling of the story. He skirts myth and legend without losing any of the romance or the achievement of that band of ""Separatists and Strangers."" Though there were no cattle in Plymouth at the time of the first Thanksgiving, as San Souci points out, the cover showing Wyeth's painting of a pilgrim maid riding a garland-bedecked cow is irresistible.

--BOOKLIST, October 15, 1991
Stunning reproductions of Wyeth's murals of the Plymouth Colony (commissioned by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in the 1940s) are combined with San Soud's clear; succinct text in a beautiful new offering. Using the writings of William Bradford as well as authoritative sources from the Plimoth Plantation, San Souci skillfully describes the journy of the Separatists and the Strangers (later known collectively as the Pilgrims) aboard the Mayflower to the New World. He also chronicles the hardships endured during their first year in America and the preparations for the frst Thanksgiving. In an afterword, San Souci is careful to note a few unintentional errors in Wyeth's paintings (for example, cows were not brought to Plymouth until 1624, and the Pilgrims did not always wear somber clothing). A second note explains the background behind Wyeth's paintings. The text has been boxed to set it off from the full-color artwork, making this a handsome as well as an informative book. Reminiscent of Marda Sewall's Pilgrims of Plimoth, the book will be a welcome addition to libraries.

--SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
Wyeth's 14-panel mural of the early Pilgrim years, done for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company building in the early 1940s, has been handsomely reproduced (although never in its entirety) to accompany a spare but aesthetically appealing recitation of the legends of Myles Standish, Squanto, and the anticlimactic ""First Thanksgiving."" The figures are solidly rendered, as if cut from Plymouth's rocky soil, and wear the expected white collars, flowing capes, bonnets, and high-crowned hats. Readers are offered broad vistas, in keeping with mural design, but also closeups of significant objects like a full-sailed Mayflower or a flirtatious maid at her spinnmg wheel. The overall visual effect is softly upbeat and romantic. Even winter snow-scenes are suffused with a heavenly light that must surely symbolize success. If this visual version of the Pilgrims is much more myth than fact, so what? The endpapers reproduce the Mayflower's passenger list that records the many deaths, remarriages, and births of the early years, ignored in Wyeth's paintings. San Souci's text, mostly unrelated to the pictures, does provide a modicum of information about the reasons for the flight from England and some of the events involved with producing a settlement. These bits of the record can be found in many other histories. What makes this book special is that it is to be experienced as a healthy fairly tale told with artistic poetency and a strong sense of the human scale of the history.

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