One Small Candle: The Pilgrims’ First Year in America - Thomas Fleming

One Small Candle: The Pilgrims’ First Year in America

By Thomas Fleming

  • Release Date: 2017-01-11
  • Genre: United States
Score: 4
From 78 Ratings


This vivid, deeply moving book begins in London in 1620 as Pilgrim representatives sign a contract to purchase the freighter Mayflower. We accompany them on their harrowing voyage across the Atlantic, through the rigors of the first New England winter and the threat of Indian attack as they desperately search for the home they eventually find at Plymouth. Once there, they must continue the struggle against brutal weather and disease.

With masterly skill, New York Times bestselling historian Thomas Fleming gives us life-size portraits of the Pilgrim leaders. The Pilgrims' unique achievements - the Mayflower Compact, their tolerance of other faiths, the strict separation of church and state - are discussed in the context of the first year's anxieties and crises. Fleming writes admiringly of the younger men who emerged in that year as the real leaders of the colony - William Bradford and Miles Standish. And he provides new insights into the humanity and tolerance of the Pilgrims' spiritual shepherd, Elder William Brewster.

On the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims are already aware that they are the forerunners of a great nation. It is implicit in William Bradford's words, "As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light kindled here has shone unto many. . . ."


  • Interesting read!

    By intetrsting!
    Interesting read. We can only imagine the hardships endured, but an example of courage and perseverance! An example through the ages !
  • Educational

    By EnvyKisses
    Overall, it was a quick read on the pilgrims historically voyage to Plymouth, Massachusetts. The first few chapters were a rough read because of the many details of navigation the ocean. Perhaps if I had some sailing knowledge, this would have meant more to me. But I did find the descriptions of life aboard the ship fascinating. The harsh weather and monumental waves. The condition of the slim, foul smelling, and disgusting drinking water. The food they ate daily, filled with maggots and parasites. I honestly don’t know how they survived. When they discovered the coast, the book became really interesting. They were originally headed for Virginia but decided on Massachusetts. The descriptions were colorful of the “Indians” they encountered, the danger, and the continued failings of finding a place to call “home” based on the lands conditions for growing and sustaining food. It took time to earn the Natives trust and vice versa. But the relationship that ensued was a nice one. And English speaking Squanto was a very interesting character who absolutely loved the pilgrims. Squanto has his own fascinating story. I wish the author went more into details but I understand why he chose not to, after all, this is the story of the pilgrims journey. What I took from this reading.... The settlers were quite entitled. Had it not been for their firearms and cannons, I am not sure their story would have been one of success. The Natives were intrigued, inviting, and generally friendly. The relationship between all, was one of peace. Towards the end of the book, you get a great section on the first “Thanksgiving”. A tradition the pilgrims brought with them from Holland that coincided with the Native’s own celebration. The food descriptions were spot on and I can’t imagine eating like that for days.
  • New look at Plymouth

    By Polamhovey
    It is the little things that make this book interesting. One, the Indians had previously been exposed to the English. Two, the Mayflower was the Pilgrim’s home during that first winter. Three, the passenger list of the Mayflower where half pilgrim and half adventurers. Stephen Hopkins is one of my ancestors
  • A fresh perspective

    This book offers a wonderfully fresh perspective on the "Pilgrims" and what they endured, in their quest for religious freedom. The trials and travails they went through...let's just say, no one today would have that kind of courage, determination, and faith. While I was aware of their early flirtation with a communistic lifestyle, I did not know how much they loved drinking, rejoicing, and bright, colorful clothing. This should be a must-read in schools today. Sam