Milton in America

by Peter Ackroyd

Paperback, 1997





Vintage, (1997)


An alternate history novel in which the 17th Century English writer, John Milton, emigrates to America to escape the wrath of the royalists for his Puritan views. He is elected leader of a Puritan colony in New England and leads it in a war against a Catholic colony. A tale of religious intolerance.

User reviews

LibraryThing member the.ken.petersen
A curious what if story: the premise of this book is that John Milton runs from the King's return and turns up in the newly discovered America.
Milton's puritanical Christianity causes problems from day one and the tale builds to a war with the next settlement, a Catholic group who raise their leader to the level of king. New Milton, our eponymous hero's township wins a pyrrhic victory over Ralph Kempis (King of Mary Mount - and surely, history's only King Ralph!) .
Milton is not given the pleasure of his victory as he is tricked into an alcohol induced night of sin, after which, he staggers off into the woods, trips and loses the sight which had returned at the hands of an Indian healer.
I found the concept more entertaining than its inception: I was not sorry to reach the final full stop.
… (more)
LibraryThing member DinadansFriend
I enjoy Peter Ackroyd's prose and have been a fan since "Hawksmoor", his very chilling possession story. Milton is not his best book, but an interesting exploration of his view of the American character. which seems to be rather autistic. Readable but not captivating.
LibraryThing member thorold
Ackroyd explores Milton's complicated and contradictory character by speculating about what might have happened had he fled to America in 1660 and become the spiritual and temporal leader of a Puritan settlement. It's more of a satire of seventeenth-century religious certainty and the intolerance it led to than a serious attempt to describe the Puritan endeavour, but if you read it on that level and accept its one-sided view, it's quite an engaging read, and often rather funny in a bleak, Monrty Python sort of way.… (more)


Original language



Page: 0.2458 seconds