By Geraldine Brooks
Viking, 2011. 306 pgs. Fiction
Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk was born a Wopanaak chief’s son on the island of Noepe (Martha’s Vineyard) in 1646. Colonists from the mainland had just settled on part of the island and some felt they had a Christian responsibility to convert as many native islanders as possible. Bethia, the daughter of one such missionary and religious leader, tells Caleb’s story which leads him from the warrior traditions of his people to the halls of Harvard as the first Native American to graduate from that institution.
Pulitzer Prize Winner Geraldine Brooks has penned another amazing work of historical fiction. Little is actually know about Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk other than a bare sketch of his existence and achievements. But despite sparse facts, Brooks has imagined an impressive representation of what he may have been like and the struggles he would have had to face. Brooks has a gift for depicting vivid characters and a true sense of time in her work, totally immersing the reader in a breathtaking journey to another era. Caleb’s Crossing is another great work by a spectacular author.