Jamestown -the first permanent English settlement in North America, after the disappearance of the Roanoke colony-is often given short shrift in histories of America. Founded thirteen years before the Mayflower landed, Jamestown occupies less space in our cultural memory than the Pilgrims of Plymouth. But as historian James Horn points out, many of the key tensions of Jamestown's early years became central to American history, for good and for ill: Jamestown introduced slavery into English-speaking North America; it became the first of England's colonies to adopt a representative government; and, it was the site of the first clashes between whites and Indians over territorial expansion. Jamestown began the tenuous, often violent, mingling of different peoples that came to embody the American experience.
A Land as God Made It puts the Jamestown experience in the context of European geopolitics, giving prominence to the Spanish threat to extinguish the colony at the earliest opportunity. Jamestown-unlike Plymouth or Massachusetts-was England's bid to establish an empire to challenge the Spanish. With unparalleled knowledge of Jamestown's role in early American history, James Horn has written the definitive account of the colony that gave rise to America.
There, his character, determination, and ambition had propelled him to the top of society. He spent the rest of his life trying to return.Though he failed, he pointed the way for others, who were drawn by the dream that opportunity was here for anyone who dared seize it. It was a powerful thought, one that had as much to do with creating the country we have today as anything Smith did to keep Jamestown alive. Smith founded more than a colony. He gave birth to the American dream."
—from Captain John Smith
It is one of history's ironies that the person who guaranteed the success of English settlement in America first arrived as a prisoner under sentence of death. Captain John Smith tells the real story behind this swashbuck-ling character who founded the Jamestown colony, wrote the first book in English in America, and cheated death many times by a mere hairbreadth. Based on rich primary sources, including Smith's own writings and newly discovered material, this enlightening book explores Smith's early days, his forceful leadership at Jamestown that was so critical to its survival, and his efforts upon his return to England to continue settlements in America. This unique volume also reveals the truth behind Smith's relationship with Pocahontas, a tale that history has greatly distorted. As the four hundredth anniversary of the first colony in America at Jamestown approaches, Captain John Smith serves as a great testament to this confident, brash, and heroic figure.
Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New Nation
(David A. Price)
In 1606, approximately 105 British colonists sailed to America, seeking gold and a trade route to the Pacific. Instead, they found disease, hunger, and hostile natives. Ill prepared for such hardship, the men responded with incompetence and infighting; only the leadership of Captain John Smith averted doom for the first permanent English settlement in the New World.
The Jamestown colony is one of the great survival stories of American history, and this book brings it fully to life for the first time. Drawing on extensive original documents, David A. Price paints intimate portraits of the major figures from the formidable monarch Chief Powhatan, to the resourceful but unpopular leader John Smith, to the spirited Pocahontas, who twice saved Smith’s life. He also gives a rare balanced view of relations between the settlers and the natives and debunks popular myths about the colony. This is a superb work of history, reminding us of the horrors and heroism that marked the dawning of our nation.