Clifton Snider's

First Historical Novel,

The Plymouth Papers,
a Spout Hills Press book,
is available from,
other online sources, and fine bookstores.

Plymouth Papers Cover

From Atlantic Crossings, journal of the Pilgrim Hopkins Heritage Society:

[The Plymouth Papers is a] gripping, beautifully written historical novel . . . Tantalizing gaps abound between the sketchy facts known about the lives of the Pilgrim Hopkins family members. While historians and genealogists are expected to resist the temptation to fill these blanks by speculating too broadly, historical fiction writers have the license to do so. Clifton Snider has used this license to great effect, producing a compelling, provocative book, which at least for this reader, was almost impossible to put down.

--Judith Brister

From Wilderness House Literary Review:

Clifton Snider has offered up a rare wonder that both delights and instructs. Surrounded by a strident world often willing to make its point by shoving its opinions down the throats of resistant readers, Snider softly and gently introduces us to his characters and his interwoven themes. The book is political without trying to be. He never ‘gooses the bishop’ to make a point. If you know your early New England history, you will pleased to see the times reflected accurately and thoughtfully with wonderful descriptions. If you in particular follow American Indian history from that time, you will admire how he weaves the history of the decimation of so many tribes into the family narrative and the daily diary keeping. Throughout the course of the book, as the setting changes from a colony of shacks in the woods to thriving communities with courts, churches, and competing faiths, you will wonder how everyone survived and be reminded of how the unrelenting Puritanism of our early settlers still runs like a thread through our contemporary times.

--Sandra Kolankiewicz

From the Small Press Review:

[Snider gets] the truth across to Americans of the 21st century.  It was not at all like what was taught us in the third grade about the Pilgrims and the noble Squanto who instructed them in the nethods of autochthonous food preparation.  These were smooth and harmonious myths, a prettified version of the past.  History is often a dirty tale that people are reluctant to look at too closely.  Much history told is not quite true or is egregiously false.  Still, we're all grown up since the schoolmarms related these lovely stories and I think we can all handle it.

--Arnold Skemer

From GLBT Fiction:

There are so many myths about the founding of this country so why not one more? “The Plymouth Papers” is by far one of the most interesting I have read and now that I live in Massachusetts, it was a meaningful read. In the 17th century in the colony of Plymouth, not all went so well. There were clashes between the colonists and the native Americans and there were clashes within the colony as well. But there was also love. . . . All of the stories come together in that each of the main characters lived through a time of great injustice and war but even more than that it was a period of puritanical intolerance and non-acceptance of anything that deviated from their religious conviction. The main characters here are blood related and each feels a connection (spiritual) to the Native Americans. All were involved in relationships that were considered contentious. Also all of the characters are educated thinking people who are spiritual and who wanted to find love and have that love reciprocated.

I love that the book is written in the kind of English that is reminiscent of the time of the novel and Snider has been able to create characters that while are removed to us by time, still reflect the thoughts that we share today. Historical fiction is hard to write and sometimes difficult to read although this had me turning pages as quickly as possible. Snider has written a masterful book that will stay with me for a very long time.

--Amos Lassen

Praise for The Plymouth Papers:

Reinterpreting our history is a necessary and noble task, and Clifton Snider has brought the murky events of the past vividly to life by putting real people into the prettified story we've been taught.  I hope it is widely read, and leads the American people to question every other phase of our country's development -- little of what we've been taught about it is quite true and much utterly false.

--Edward Field, author of After the Fall: Poems Old and New, The Man Who Would Marry Susan Sontag, and Kabuli Days: Travels in Old Afghanistan

The archetype of the poet-magi is present throughout Snider's work, and his new novel, The Plymouth Papers, is no exception.  What his previous novel, Wrestling with Angels, is on a personal level, the new novel is on the collective and historical levels, a cogent example of what neojungian critic James Hillman calls "healing fiction."  Snider offers integrative narrative pathways to healing, deconstructing and queering the American founding myth of the Mayflower Pilgrims and their relations with the Wampanoag and other native tribes.  The Plymouth Papers is a brilliant reimagining of American history, filled with uncanny insights into relationships in 19th and 17th century America.
--James Benedict, author of Distillations I, II, and III and Gymnospheres I, II, and III

Clifton Snider’s The Plymouth Papers is first-class historical fiction: deeply imagined, emotionally rich, politically thoughtful, and possessed of a lyricism that never devolves into sentiment. Like Terrence Malick’s film The New World, Snider’s novel refuses to support the overtly nostalgic, “Shining City on the Hill” national mythology that so many still perpetuate about America’s earliest years, and yet is also able to provide a sympathetic, nuanced depiction of the men and women, European and Native American, that inhabited the North-Eastern seaboard in 17th century America. I was hooked from the opening page!

--Paul Kareem Tayyar, author of Follow the Sun, Postmark Atlantis, and In the Footsteps of the Silver King

The Plymouth Papers
takes the reader on a journey across time and space through the revelations and discoveries of several family members across several generations.  Each voice that Clifton Snider shares with us reveals struggles with genatic memory, shame and most significantly love.  Throughout this short novel that spans Colonial New England and London, Snider reminds us that despite the restrictions society tries to impose, love knows no bounds.

--LeeAnne McIlroy Langton, Senior English Language Fellow, U.S. Department of State

Reviews on

What I liked about Clifton Snider’s book is that it paints a powerful tale of up close, personal involvements on many complex levels between individuals: settlers and Native Americans, Puritans and those of other religious beliefs, and finally across the spectrum of gender identities of settlers and Native Americans.

So different from the stilted images of the Thanksgiving feast presented in storybook pictures, Snider tells the story in a way that allows you to feel the pleasure, pain, love, cruelty and humanity of people that lived there. The reader will feel the settlement of Plymouth as if he/she had lived it. Highly recommended.

--Frank Kearns

Snider's The Plymouth Papers uses a multi-generational narrative to offer an alternative, more realist, story of relations between and among Colonists and Native Americans. The author inserts the missing gay and lesbian characters to the Colonial story; there is certainly no mention of these individuals in any standard account of the Plymouth colony. This book provides a fuller and much needed perspective on that period of American history.

--Carol Demcak

[The Plymouth Papers] is lively and captivating and helps the reader understand much of the “hidden history” of early America that has been ignored by the popular notions of what the Pilgrims and their society were really like. Kudos to Clifton Snider for this wondrous look into our past.

--Robert C. Snyder

You are right there in 1620 when these letters from Stephen Hopkins surface in the book. After leaving the Mayflower Indians and conditions are revealed. Life was hard, many died. Here is the truth.

--G. Snyder

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