Voyagers to the West (Magill's Literary Annual 1987)
Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution is truly an epic undertaking. The book is the product of a decade of research by Bernard Bailyn, the distinguished Harvard historian perhaps best known for The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1967), winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and the Bancroft Prize. In this opening volume of a projected three-volume study, the author portrays the great transatlantic movement of people from Great Britain on the eve of the American Revolution.
The scope, the analytic breadth of the book, is immense. It is unprecedented in terms of the variety of historical methods used to distill and present a staggering amount of data. Its five parts range from impressionistic descriptions of contemporary events and perceptions to highly sophisticated quantitative analysis. Indeed, the format of Voyagers to the West reflects the complexity of the data sources as well as the multidimensional reality of this varied and vital era in building the American nation.
The matrix source for this volume is an emigration register that listed every person officially known to have embarked from Great Britain for America from December, 1773, to March, 1776. The document also provided personal information about each prospective colonist, such as age, occupation, and reasons for emigrating. Bailyn and his assistant Barbara DeWolfe (“a virtual...
(The entire section is 1797 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1987)
Booklist. LXXXIII, October 15, 1986, p. 308.
Kirkus Reviews. LIV, September 1, 1986, p. 1335.
Library Journal. CIX, November 1, 1986, p. 92.
The New Republic. CXCV, December 8, 1986, p. 32.
The New York Times. CXXXVI, November 11, 1986, p. C16.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXX, October 3, 1986, p. 106.
The Wall Street Journal. CCVIII, December 9, 1986, p. 32.
(The entire section is 40 words.)