Item description for The Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson by Mrs Mary Rowlandson...
In February 1676, during King Philip's War, the frontier village of Lancaster, Massachusetts, was attacked by a party of Nipmuck Indians and completely destroyed. As relief from Concord approached, the attackers withdrew, taking with them 24 captives, including Mrs. Mary Rowlandson and her three children. For almost three months the little family was forced to live with their captors and endure exposure to a New England winter.The youngest child, who had been injured during the attack, failed to survive. Eventually ransom was paid and the family released. Mrs. Rowlandson's account of her experience was published in 1682. It became a"best-seller" of its day and created a new literary genre, the captivity narrative. Such accounts were in part responsible for the mistrust and hatred of the Indians that plagued the country for centuries. It is also the first publication in English by a woman in the New World.
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Neal Salisbury (Ph. D., University of California, Los Angeles) is a professor of history at Smith College and specializes in the history of American Indians and colonial New England. He is author of Manitou and Providence: Indians, Europeans, and the Making of New England, 1500-1643 (1982) and The Indians of New England: A Critical Bibliography (1982) and is coauthor of The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People (1990). His most recent article, "The Indians' Old World: Native Americans and the Coming of Europeans," appeared in the July 1996 issue of the William and Mary Quarterly.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson?
Obesity Apr 27, 2007
If you're fat and found dieting is genuine starvation...blah, blah and you can't fill yourself now-you're real and not head tripping, you'll be interested to know that Mary Rowlandson could never feel physically full after the captivity. She points out that the Bible even mentions that syndrome. I recently switched to Creationism because everything in the Bible eventually turns out to be true scientifically. There is a malfunction from going too hungry that we haven't medically figured out yet. It is there in our faces. Mary and her Bible is to behold. The Lord used her. He used her to prove he is always right. She is for the year 2007. She went through that horror for our times. Not hers. "Twiggy" body is anti-christ and causes a real disease of perpetual hunger.
Mary in the New World Nov 10, 2005
Mary Rowlandson, a Minister's wife in New-England as it says underwent a cruel and inhumane treatment from the Indians that took her captive. This is a story of sorrow and pain, of faith and truth, of tears and reflections, and of grief and hopes. The Indians poured their wrath and anger against this helpless small community demonstrating to them what kind of human beings they were; probably all of them were not like them, but in reality I have little enthusiasm to lift up any merciful praise towards these Indians when reading this painful story.
Mary describes these Indians as `cruel and barbarous Salvages'. As her Per Amicum recalled from the scriptures "Thus all things come alike to all: None knows either love or hatred by all that is before him". A sad Catastrophe! (p. 6). They furiously attacked with guns, burning the houses which such a calamity that was said: `the smokes were ascending to Heaven'. They went to the first house where five persons were taken: the father and the mother and a sucking child, to whom they knocked on the head and the other two that were carried alive. We can see the nature of these attackers when they shot and wounded one which when down on the ground begged for his life, but they would not hearken to him, but knocked him on the head, stripped him naked and split open his bowels (p. 10).
They were `Barbarous Creatures according to Mrs. Rowlandson's narrative, they put down everybody with wounded and bleeding bodies..."and our hearts no less than our bodies." (p. 12). The sorrow they produced can be gathered in her words when she said: "I must turn my back upon the Town, and travel with them into the vast and desolate wilderness, I know no whiter. It is not my tongue or pen can express the sorrows of my heart and bitterness of my spirit that I had at this Departure: but God...I went on foot after it, with sorrow that cannot be expressed." (p.13); but for these Indians was just one more thing...'they, like inhuman creatures, laughed, and rejoiced to see it.'
In the midst of it all, miraculously, one of these salvages struck her as a lost star or beam of light by offering her a Bible he had from the Medfield fight, where they committed sacking and looting. He took it from his basket and gave it to Mary. She interpreted it as a gift from her merciful God in the middle of this valley of darkness (p. 16).
I cannot help but mention what these barbarians did to a pregnant woman in miserable conditions. "Being so near her time, she would be often asking the Indians to let her go home; they, not being willing to that, gathered a great company together about her and striped her naked, and set her in the midst of them; and they had sung and danced about her (in their hellish manner) as long as they pleased, they knocked her on the head, and the child in her arms with her. When they had done that they made a fire, and put them both into it..." (pp. 17-18). Words speak for themselves.
It is very interesting how these Puritans were similar to their English ancestors but more `pure' in the sense that they were very devoted to their faith in a distant, almost forgotten world.
Her puritan faithfulness could be noted when in the middle of her struggle she could cite the prophet Jeremiah, quoting from the Bible his chapter 31, verse 16:
"Thus says the Lord, refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears, for thy work shall be rewarded, and they shall come again from the land of the enemy."(p. 18).
Mary Rowlandson sees her captivity as a sign of God in many ways, some of them even contradictions. For instance, at one point she compared herself with the biblical story of Lot in Sodom and recalled when she was removed as the wife of Lot when looked back resulting in being transformed as a salt stone. In this case she saw herself looking back from where she was coming and no matter what we know about her past as a person, she compares herself in this case with Lot's wife which was not a good example as a woman. Eventually she probably wanted to point out the mercy God had protecting her as a humble servant.
On the 'other side of the river' she compares herself with Job, who was a totally different person than Lot's wife. He was a righteous man that was tented by Satan in order to prove to God that he was not 'as good or perfect' as he looked then. Thus on page 21 she cited...'now we might say as Job, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return; the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.'
She sees herself again as under the guidance of God, and as a living sign going like Job through a time of testing and character building for the sake of God's Kingdom. She cites Job again on page 27:...'Yet upon this, and the like occasions, I hope it is not too much to say with Job, have pity upon me, have pity upon me, Oh ye my Friends, for the hand of the Lord has touched me.' As Job was a sign to Judeo-Christian generations, Mary Rowlandson assumed herself going through that process almost like a sign for future generation of puritans, trusting always in the redemption promised by God, as when she cites the prophet Isaiah: 'For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.'(p.29), or...'Let the Redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the Enemy'(p.43).
It amazed me that while she was believing that she deserved what was happening to her, nevertheless she was an incredible spiritual strong woman that never lost her hope to be delivered by her merciful God, citing: 'Thus saith the Lord, Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thy eyes from tears, for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord, and they shall come again from the Land of the enemy' (p.45). She believed her suffering was coming to pass at the end of the road. She had, as all humans do, times of doubt and sadness, but finally she always found refuge in the Word of God, the Bible, which I have no doubt that for her in those terrible days was like living a 'practical seminary' where she studied the scriptures as never before; a divine sign and purpose for her, taking in to account how under such hardship surrounded by pagans, she could amazingly conserve that Bible during this dangerous journey in the jungle as a captive. She was finally experiencing that Valley of Shadow as a puritan witness redeemed back to life also as a resurrectional sign in her life.
This was the most popular personal account of its day- why did Puritans want to read this narrative? What sort of Puritan values or beliefs does this narrative promote?
I found it peculiar to read how being a Christian herself, she does not mention the passion of Christ and her symbolic suffering as a puritan for the Lord's cause among the Native Americans. The puritans were impacted throughout this narrative because she compared herself to the times of the Old Testament where the Jewish nation was brought out of Egypt and experienced hardship in a dusty dessert for 40 years trying to reach, as a chosen nation, the promised land, believing herself that God wanted her to be submitted under such suffering to be greatly rewarded later on.
The same way this narrative was important for the puritans because the image of Mary Rowlandson represented the messianic purpose of 'puritan chosen people' which came through hardships from Europe into the New-promised-English-land with that earthly utopian idea of 'a city over a hill'. As the chosen ones to 'purify' the Gospel, the puritans saw in this narrative an opportunity to show off the infinite mercy of our Creator even to the Native-Americans; coming undoubtedly inside a 'puritan vessel' full of hope, perseverance and faith that indeed redeem.
a first person narrative is one of the best kind of books Jun 8, 2005
Because it is a first hand account-and who better to tell the story than the person who lived through it? That's why I take offense at the reviewer who said this book is too one-sided. Hello? Would YOU care to live through a New England winter without any modern conveniences? Would YOU like to be taken captive by hostile savages and have your life distrupted and your child die as a result? Perhaps it's not politically correct these days to see indians as savages but excuse me-they raped women and killed children. They burned homes and tortured men. Like it or not that's how many of them were back then. (Notice I didn't say ALL so don't get your dander up.) This book is a look at a person's life and her perspective on it. How she dealt with a tragedy of unknown modern proportions. How she lived through it and what she learned from it. Fascinating stuff, in my opinion.
Very One sided Jun 24, 2004
I loved all of this witches acounts of Wheetamoo, greatest sachem ever! but she was sooooooo one sided! I hated how she talked about the Sachem Wheetamoo. I wish that she was more two-sided and it is NOT understandable of her harsh words tword Wheetamoo or any of the FRIENDLY indians The author is a mean witch with a b!
First book published by American woman Feb 26, 2004
We, Chapman Billies, Inc. published this edition and Trafalgar Square distributed it for us at first. It has never been out of stock. Of course we think it should get 5 stars, otherwise we/I would not have put our money behind it. Mrs. Rowlandson tells of the attack on her village, the wounding of her youngest child, their being kidnapped,forced to go with her captors for several months in a New England winter, and watch her child die before being ransomed. To expect her to be an enlightened 21st century woman as she tells her story is to be, Ugh, un-brave.