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They Came for Freedom

post written by Emma Filbrun

They Came for Freedom by Jay MilbrandtTitle: They Came for Freedom
Author: Jay Milbrandt
Major Themes: Pilgrims, Puritans, Squanto
Synopsis: The story of the Pilgrims is told in a fresh, new way with excerpts from their own writings woven in very well.

As I was looking through a list of books available for review a little while ago, They Came for Freedom caught my eye. I have read a lot of books about the Pilgrims, and wasn’t sure if this would be worth reading or not, or even if it would be readable or not. So many books like this end up being dry history, especially if they quote a lot from the actual writings of the historical characters. I decided to give it a try anyway—and I’m glad I did.

Jay Milbrandt has told the story of the Pilgrims in a fresh way in this book. He uses the writings of William Bradford and Edward Winslow extensively to relate the account of what happened before, during and after the settlement at New Plymouth, Massachusetts was started, but he has done a superb job of tweaking the quotations just slightly to make the story flow well. As I said before, I have read a number of books about the Pilgrims, and this book lined up with the history I knew—but this book goes a bit deeper than most.

I enjoyed learning about the flight from Scrooby to Holland, as the Separatists first attempted to find a place where they could practice their faith. I hadn’t realized that this happened during a short time of religious freedom when there was a truce between Holland and Spain. When the ten or so years of the truce came to an end, the Separatists knew they must find another place to live. Their story is told very clearly here.

This book would be great for any history-lover, or anyone wanting to know more about the real story of the Pilgrims who settled New Plymouth. It’s great both as history and as a story.

I received a free ecopy of this book from NetGalley and chose to review it.

No warnings!

Age Levels:

Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults


Links to buy They Came for Freedom:

Amazon: Kindle | Hardcover | Audible Audiobook (unabridged) | MP3 Audio CD (unabridged)

AbeBooks: View Choices on

Book Depository: Hardcover | Audio CD (unabridged)


Pilgrims, Puritans, Squanto

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