Darret B. Rutman's "Winthrop’s Boston: A Portrait of a Puritan Town"

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Winthrop’s Boston: A Portrait of a Puritan Town, 1630 - 1649 by Darret B. Rutman was published by Norton Library in 1965. This non-fiction novel tells the story of John Winthrop settling and setting up the colony of Boston. Rutman also shows what Winthrop had ideally thought of the task and the actuality of the situation.

Body

Rutman’s main purpose for writing this book was to show the differences between what Winthrop thought his American life would be, and what it turned out to be. Winthrop’s Boston: A Portrait of a Puritan Town, 1630 - 1649, portrays the story of John Winthrop setting up his dream. The novel starts with John “aboard the Arabella contemplating his ‘Citty upon a Hill,’” (135). His journey on the Arabella was not just a boat ride, it was where the planning began. Being a puritan and wanting religious freedom Winthrop had left behind his wife and life to start a new one in America. Although his initial thought was a “Citty upon a Hill”, Boston ends up being “The Citty by the Water”. This change in title is just one example that shows what he book reveals about Winthrop’s ideal community. In the end, he did set-up Boston but it wasn’t exactly how he pictured it. Along the way there were situations in which he did not predict.

In June 1630, John Winthrop and his fleet arrived in Salem, Massachusetts. This was not the ideal place for Winthrop’s ideal “citty”. So five days after land John and his men left Salem in search of better land. Charlestown was where the puritans set their roots. However, their start was not favorable due to disease, killing many of the settlers and making the survivors weak. They were unable to bring shipped goods to their encampment and the only resolution was to divide and conquer. Onc...

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...vement was also a trouble, Smith died when returning to Jamestown after an expedition. Both men had the goal and dream of setting up a new town in which they wanted as their own or as a place to start new. Smith and Winthrop achieved their ambition and are remembered in history for it.

Conclusion

Winthrop’s Boston: A Portrait of a Puritan Town, 1630 - 1649 by Darret B. Rutman seemed to be a long and excruciating read. The book had a great deal of information that the reader could learn from it, but most was lost when trying to stay awake to read it. On the other hand, Rutman had the concept down. The importance should be put on the idea behind the book because if you are interested in the idea you will gain knowledge. Nonetheless this book shows you the circumstances that Winthrop faced, what the founder of Boston fought through to create “The City on the Water”.

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