Now Featured in the Patheos Book Club
The First Thanksgiving
What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning from History
By Robert Tracy McKenzie
What People Are Saying
"Revisionist histories were once the rage, as academics sought recognition by shaking us from deeply and dearly held perceptions of the past with revelations of novel and counter 'facts.' McKenzie works the opposite direction, resurfacing the history we have forgotten regarding one of our most treasured holidays—Thanksgiving—to help reexamine and reinforce our most important convictions regarding faith and culture."
—Bryan Chapell, president emeritus, Covenant Seminary
"As a teacher, I am always on the lookout for brief, well-written models of historical thinking that I can immediately thrust into the hands of undergraduates. I absolutely loved the chapter on why it took Thanksgiving so long to take root. This work models historical thinking with incandescent lucidity."
—Sam Wineburg, Stanford University
"Tracy McKenzie's clearly written and thoughtfully accessible book should be read with appreciation by a wide audience. It combines solid historical treatment of early American Thanksgivings with a perceptive understanding of historical method in general, and it does so by underscoring the profound Christian stake in history. It is one of those rare books that is perfectly suited for young readers but also of real value to those of us who have been around for a long time."
—Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame
"What makes The First Thanksgiving such a refreshing read is that McKenzie gives fewer pages to debunking folk tales about the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving than he does to inspiring desire for a kind of historical inquiry that enriches human wisdom through moral and spiritual reflection. Warm-hearted, intelligent and wonderfully surprising, this book will be read and appreciated by students and scholars alike, and especially by history lovers interested in what history is and what it is good for."
—Lendol Calder, Augustana College
"McKenzie's book is both an engaging account of New England's first Thanksgiving and an excellent introduction to how to think both critically and constructively about history."
—George Marsden, author of A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards
"If you want to rediscover the 'first Thanksgiving' and learn what difference studying history makes—well, you couldn't do better than reading this one volume. By looking at the Pilgrims afresh, they come alive to remind us 'how we mean to live and do not yet live.'"
—Mark Galli, Christianity Today
"The First Thanksgiving emphasizes the Pilgrims' firm commitment to God and highlights beliefs today's Christians might disagree with, such as refusing religious tolerance. Throughout the book, McKenzie uses carefully selected biblical scriptures to assure readers that history has a place in Christianity, but Christians must be careful not to place faith in historical figures or America. Instead, they should follow the Pilgrims' lead and strive to make heaven their home...Christians who embrace the strategies used by historians that McKenzie skillfully teaches, may never view the past the same again."
—Kaavonia Hinton, ForeWord Magazine, Fall 2013