Horwitz begins the novel with a prologue in the style of a personal narrative which is a style of writing he uses throughout certain chapters. Horwitz’s interest in learning more of early America came after a visit to Plymouth when he heard the most common question was the connection between the date on the rock 1620 and 1492, when most people thought Columbus landed at the rock. The two events and dates of Columbus discovering America and the landing of the Pilgrims is greatly confused in most Americans’ minds. As Horwitz left he thought back to this and wondered about his own misconceptions and gaps in knowledge of early America. “ As for dates, I’d mislaid an entire century, the one separating Columbus’s sail in 1492 from Jamestown’s founding in 16-0-something. Maybe nothing happened in the period between. Still, it was distressing not to know.” After thinking about this Horwitz decides that he is going to go on a voyage to help further his understanding of early America. This sets up the rest of the book as Horw...
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...early America. Horwitz touches on the first major civilizations, Roanoke, Jamestown, and Plymouth and discusses their successes and failure, as well as reasons for this. Horwitz continues to debunk common misconceptions of early America in all aspects of settlement. “When Americans recall their English forefathers they conjure folk of modest means who fled the Old World to live and worship as they chose… This uplifting narrative isn’t altogether true to the Jamestown and plymouth settlers. But it’s even further removed from their forgotten English predecessors.” In his conclusion Horwitz revisits Plymouth with his new knowledge and insight of early America. He has a greater understanding of the people that came between Columbus’ arrival and the landing of the Mayflower and he shares this with the reader debunking myths, and informing those of the true early America.
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