A Path in the Mighty Waters: Shipboard Life and Atlantic Crossings to the New World


by: Berry, Stephen R.
Format: Hardcover

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Product Description A vivid and revealing portrait of shipboard life as experienced by eighteenth-century migrants from Europe to the New World In October 1735, James Oglethorpe’s Georgia Expedition set sail from London, bound for Georgia. Two hundred and twenty-seven passengers boarded two merchant ships accompanied by a British naval vessel and began a transformative voyage across the Atlantic that would last nearly five months. Chronicling their passage in journals, letters, and other accounts, the migrants described the challenges of physical confinement, the experiences of living closely with people from different regions, religions, and classes, and the multi-faceted character of the ocean itself.   Using their specific journey as his narrative arc, Stephen Berry’s A Path in the Mighty Waters tells the broader and heretofore underexplored story of how people experienced their crossings to the New World in the eighteenth century. During this time, hundreds of thousands of Europeans—mainly Irish and German—crossed the Atlantic as part of their martial, mercantile, political, or religious calling. Histories of these migrations, however, have often erased the ocean itself, giving priority to activities performed on solid ground. Reframing these histories, Berry shows how the ocean was more than a backdrop for human events; it actively shaped historical experiences by furnishing a dissociative break from normal patterns of life and a formative stage in travelers’ processes of collective identification. Shipboard life, serving as a profound conversion experience for travelers both spiritually and culturally, resembled the conditions of a frontier or border zone where the chaos of pure possibility encountered an inner need for stability and continuity, producing permutations on existing beliefs.   Drawing on an impressive array of archival collections, Berry’s vivid and rich account reveals the crucial role the Atlantic played in history and how it has lingered in American memory as a defining experience. Review “Extremely well researched and beautifully written”?Erik R. Seeman, author of  Death in  the New World (Erik R. Seeman) “Evocative and engaging, Berry’s study makes significant contributions to our understanding of Early American culture, spirituality, and the Atlantic World.”?Richard Godbeer, University of Miami (Richard Godbeer) “In this innovative work, Stephen Berry focuses on the experience of oceanic travel, utilizing overlooked sources to uncover individual understandings of faith as well as novel interactions across denominational and ethnic divides.  A Path in the Mighty Waters is elegantly written, and deserves to be widely read."—Carla Gardina Pestana, University of California, Los Angeles (Carla Gardina Pestana) “For a generation we have done Atlantic history without the ocean. By masterfully charting a complex space, Stephen Berry reminds us in his original book that the Atlantic system that emerged in the eighteenth century was nothing more, nor less, than the sum total of the hopes and fears of those who ventured from Old Worlds to New.”—Patrick Griffin, University of Notre Dame (Patrick Griffin) “Sailor-scholar Stephen Berry, part of a growing band of maritime historians, takes us ‘down to the sea in ships’ for a memorable and well-researched ocean crossing.  He vividly shows that their ocean sojourn gave voyagers a preview of the unfamiliar diversity they would face in America, and he rightly emphasizes the spiritual aspect of their journey.”— Peter H. Wood, author of  Strange New Land: Africans in Colonial America (Peter H. Wood) " A Path in the Mighty Waters helps restore the ocean itself to Atlantic history. In Stephen Berry's adroit telling, the collision of profane terror and spiritual epiphany at sea forever shaped the mental world of migrants to early America."—Jon F. Sensbach, author of Rebecca's Revival: Creating Black Christianity in the Atlantic World   (Jon F. Sensba


Product Code: 9780300204230
ISBN: 030020423X
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: 2015-01-13
Number of Pages: 336 pages
Languages: english
Edition: Illustrated
Dimension: 5.98 x 1.3 x 9.29 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds