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Anne Bradstreet: Pilgrim and Poet

By Faith Cook
February 2011 | Review by Simon L. Ward


Sailing to the New World at the age of eighteen, Anne Bradstreet was among the first contingent of Puritan refugees to leave English shores between 1630 and 1642, in search of liberty to worship without fear of persecution from state or church. Frequently struggling with ill-health, in addition to the challenges of raising a family in the harsh conditions faced by the early settlers, she achieved unexpected fame as America's first published poet, a remarkable feat for a woman in view of the cultural prejudices of the times.

  • Publisher: Evangelical Press
  • ISBN: 978-0852347140
  • Pages: 176
  • Price: £7.99
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Book Review

Faith Cook’s biography of one of the first Puritan refugees is both inspiring and challenging. Here is a woman who fled England at the age of eighteen for the glorious New World, in the hope of a life free from religious persecution. But here is a child of God who experienced the full range of trials, disappointments and setbacks, just like so many other believers.

Anne Bradstreet’s life story is accurately recounted. Whilst the book is easy to read, its content is by no means simplistic. During periods of illness, loneliness, bereavement and anxiety, as well as in times of joy, Anne Bradstreet began to express her thoughts in verse.

Over the years her poems displayed an increased understanding of God and herself, and especially of the times in which she lived. Printed in England without her knowledge or consent, Anne Bradstreet’s works made her America’s first published poet.

Many extracts from Anne’s poems are cited. Some of these would make fine hymns; others even amount to helpful summaries of doctrine! What really shines forth though is her ‘pilgrim mentality’.

This was a Christian woman who did not hold the things of this earth too dearly, and who was only too aware of her own sinfulness and failure. She saw everything in the light of God’s providence and ‘looked for that city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God’. Thoroughly recommended!

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