One of the most famous American journals is that of 17th century Puritan leader John Winthrop. As the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, an office he held with few interruptions for two decades, he worked to establish a society in which he thought true Christianity could flourish, beyond the reach of the unfaithful Church of England. Winthrop's journal has provided a window into a world that, while unfamiliar, continues to influence our sense of the meaning of America. James G. Moseley provides a new look at this extraordinary man, paying careful attention to the connections between Winthrop's political activity and his writing. Moseley first examines Winthrop as a writer, using the journal to analyse Winthrop as a man resolving challenges based as much on his acutely pragmatic intelligence as on his deeply felt religious convictions. Secondly, Mosley traces how historians have responded to Winthrop - how his famous journal has been read and misread by those who have filtered the man and his cultural context through many lenses. Arguing that writing was the medium through which Winthrop developed his capacity for leadership, Moseley shows how the journal enabled Winthrop to reflect objectively on his situation and to adjust his behaviour. Winthrop was, Moseley suggests, not only a politician but a historian, and his interpretations of foundational events in American history in his journal are an invaluable resource for understanding the nature of leadership and the meaning of liberty in Puritan America.