June 28, 2007

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New Hampshire: 1603-1776 (Voices from Colonial America), by Scott Auden (National Geographic Society, 2007, 109 pages)
Reviewed by Lisa Parsons news@hippopress.com

This ought to be handed out in welcome packets to new residents of the state. It explains a lot.

New Hampshire was where colonists went when they got kicked out of Massachusetts for not being religiously “pure” enough. But then New Hampshire (i.e. the towns that we now know as being in New Hampshire) asked Massachusetts to govern it, because it needed governing. At this point some of the kicked-out people kicked themselves even further, like to Maine. Meanwhile colonial explorers were hunting for some mythical Lake of the Iroquois that was said to exist in what is now northern New Hampshire and was supposed to be bursting with fish and game. (The National Geographic authors do not speculate as to whether this was a giant wild goose chase created by the seacoast natives to get the gringos out of their way.) When the Revolution started, Gov. Wentworth (one of three governors Wentworth in state history) found himself stuck in the middle between rebels and the British government; he must have managed OK, because New Hampshire, uniquely among the 13 colonies, hosted no battles during the Revolution, unless you count a little tiff at the Castle of William and Mary. Now all we need is a National Geographic book to take us beyond 1776. NG has a whole “Voices from Colonial America” series, and this installment is great for young students (say middle school and up) and anyone who’s curious. A — Lisa Parsons