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Author and Historian Nathaniel Philbrick to Speak on Oct. 3

"In the Heart of the Sea" author will focus on events detailed in 2007’s "Mayflower" and this year’s "Bunker Hill"

BRISTOL, R.I. – While the story of the Pilgrims’ settlement in Plymouth, Mass., is well known and nationally celebrated each Thanksgiving, the details of America’s earliest settlers and their fragile working relationship with the native Wampanoag tribe that erupted into a bloody massacre are largely lost in the footnotes of school textbooks.

In Mayflower and the recently published Bunker Hill, award-winning author Nathaniel Philbrick takes readers beyond the myth to paint a complex and captivating portrait of nascent America – a history that even in its earliest stages was defined by a quest for tolerance and freedom against a backdrop of race relations, religious conflict and endemic violence.

As Rhode Island celebrates the 350th anniversary of its 1663 Colonial Charter, Roger Williams University welcomes Philbrick on Thursday, Oct. 3. The National Book Award winner and finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in History will share his perspective on the events that shaped four centuries of American history, from King Philip’s War to the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Philbrick will speak about both Mayflower and Bunker Hill, with a special focus on Benjamin Church and his great grandson, also named Benjamin Church, a leading patriot who proved to be a British spy. The author shared the younger Church’s story in this year’s Bunker Hill, which chronicles the events and characters in the Boston battle that ignited the Revolution. The Boston Globe called the book “a masterpiece of narrative and perspective…” and not only the greatest American story, but “the American story.”

The Oct. 3 presentation – the culmination of this year’s Common Reading program at Roger Williams, in which all first-year students and many others on campus read Mayflower — will take place at 7 p.m. in the Campus Recreation Center on the University's Bristol campus at One Old Ferry Road. A book signing with the author will immediately follow.

The event is free, and seats are available to the greater public, but reservations are required. Due to anticipated demand and limited space, some guests may be directed to satellite locations on campus to watch via live video feed. Please call (401) 254-3210 to reserve a ticket.

More information on the author and his books can be found at