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Captain John Smith: Writings with Other Narratives of Roanoke, Jamestown, and the First English Settlement of America [Hardcover]

Our Price $ 38.25  
Retail Value $ 45.00  
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Item Number 371394  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   1329
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.5" Width: 5.25" Height: 8"
Weight:   1.9 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Mar 22, 2007
Publisher   Library of America
Age  18
ISBN  1598530011  
EAN  9781598530018  

Availability  1 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 22, 2016 09:34.
Usually ships within one to two business days from Momence, IL.
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Item Description...
An illustrated edition of the English chronicler's major works is comprised of firsthand dispatches from Virginia and New England, his personal memoirs, and his analyses of the challenges of colonization, in a volume complemented by narrative accounts by other writers on the settlement of Roanoke and Jamestown.

Buy Captain John Smith: Writings with Other Narratives of Roanoke, Jamestown, and the First English Settlement of America by James Horn from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781598530018 & 1598530011

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Product Categories
1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > History > United States   [2549  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Behind the Making of the New World  Jan 4, 2008
Reviewer Craig Matteson has written a fantastic review of this thick old book that will make it shine as it should. I wasn't quite as entranced as Matteson, but it's plain that he's a history buff and I just picked up the book trying to learn a bit more about John Smith after watching the movie about him, THE NEW WORLD. which came out last year. The Library of America always picks up on trends wherever they can find them, small signs that the public is still interested in literature. Thus they have the complete Elizabeth Bishop coming out, and even a book of ecological material that Al Gore wrote a preface for! Here the editor, James Horne, works overtime trying to bring cohesion into a group of Smith's writings that sometimes contradict each other. We get a sense of 17th century writing as being highly contingent, its practictioners unmotivated by Greek notions of truth, just trying to get their own out and to make themselves look admirable. Horne hit on the idea of adding material by many, many other men of the period, people commenting on Smith's vanity and delusions, and sometimes this approach works, giving us an extra dimension by broadcasting opposite points of view, the way a democracy is supposed to work.

Sometimes it doesn't and it just makes a tedious book even dryer and more confusing. I found plenty of meat in Smith's description of the last days of Lady Rebecca, the girl he had once known as Powhatan's daughter Pocahontas. In the movie it seems that she was told Smith had died, and then that gave her the space she needed emotionally to go and marry Christian Bale. Here you don't get all that melodrama. Basically Pocahontas becomes more cryptic than ever before. Could she really have abandoned her people so casually, all for the chance of wearing English finery and getting to meet "vertuous Queen Anne"?

But one bit of authentic description did seem like it was coming from the heart in the fourth book of the "Generall Historie" when Smith recalls a meeting with the now married Lady Rebecca. "After a modest salutation, eithout any word, she turned about, obscured her face, as not seeming well contented, and in that humour her husband , with divers others, we all left her two or three houres, repenting my selfe to have write she could speake English. Nut not long after, she began to talke, and remembered mee well what courtesies shee hhad done, saying, You did promise Powhatan what was yours should be his, and he the like to you; you called him father being in his land a stranger, and by the same reason so must I doe you; which though I would have excused, I durst not allow of that title, because she was a Kings daughter; with a well set countenance she said, Were you not afraid to come into my fathers Countrie, and caused feare in him and all his people (but mee) and feare you here I should call you father; I tell you then I will, and you shall call mee childe, and so I will bee for ever and ever your Countrieman." They didn't have many apostrophes back than, and they had more of the letter "e" attached to words than we do, but I hope you get the idea (page 442).
A must have for all who are interested in the early settlement of Virginia and New England  Apr 5, 2007
Captain John Smith did an amazing amount of living in the fifty-one years he lived on Earth. His life's journey began in 1580 at Willoughy, England. He left home at 16 after his father's death to become a soldier fighting in France for Dutch Independence from Spain. In other words, he was a mercenary. He went to work in the Mediterranean Sea on a merchant ship in 1598. In 1600 he went to the Austrians to fight in Hungary against the Turks and fought so valiantly that he was promoted to Captain. Fighting in Transylvania in 1602, he was wounded, captured, and sold as a slave to a Turk. He was then given to a girl who sent him to her brother to get training for Imperial service. Being very ill treated by this Pasha, Smith killed him and escaped. He fled through Russia and then Poland, was released from service, received a large reward and spent time traveling throughout Europe. During the winter of 1604-05 he returned to England. All this before the events we know him for began in Virginia and New England!

His restless nature somehow got him involved with the plans to colonize the Virginia territory for profit. King James I granted the charter and the expedition set sail on December 20, 1606. While this is more than a century after Columbus, it was still a huge and costly undertaking to what was almost unknown territory. The three tiny ships were the Discovery (20 tons), Susan Constant (120 tons), and Godspeed (40 tons). They did not land in Virginia until April 1607 after a voyage of more than four months. Smith was on the list of seven council members that was designated to govern the colony. The winter was harsh, fresh water was hard to come by, sickness ravaged the colonists, and the local Indians, ruled by Powhatan (Wahunsonacock), were antagonistic to the newcomers. Smith became the leader and led the fight against the Indian raids and negotiating with them for food enough to supplement their meager stores.

In December of 1607, the famous incident of Smith being taken to Powhatan and being saved by Pocahontas occurred. Like much in Smith's writings, it is hard to separate the braggadocio from the fact. Apparently there was some kind of ceremony that involved a ritual death and renewal of life whereby Smith became some kind of subordinate chief member of the tribe. Smith may not have understood the ceremony well and indeed may well have believed that the 11 year old princess saved his life.

Life was very hard at Jamestown and dissent grew. Smith was elected President in September 1608 and has the fort reinforced and emphasizes military training among the colonists. During the winter, Powhatan refused to provide food because he believes that the colonists are not there to trade but to take Indian lands. After difficult negotiations they trade swords and guns for food. Things continue to be difficult and now the resentment focuses on Smith. He is badly burned when his powder keg caught fire. A group leading colonists deposes Smith and he sails back to England part in resentment and part for treatment of his injuries in October.

He is active in promoting colonization of the new territories and heads back in 1614, but he cannot go to Virginia. He focuses on the area north that he called New England. Smith traveled to many areas there and in 1615 founded a colony in Maine. He is captured by a French privateer and is unable to return to England until December. In 1622, Indians kill more than 300 colonists. Smith's offer to lead the military fight against the natives is rejected.

During these years in England, Smith published some works to provide him some much needed income. He finds the right stories to tell and several of his writings sold quite well. He died in 1631 at 51 years old and was buried at St. Sepulchres in the City of London.

This summary of his life is there merest outline of events. There is much much more covered in this treasure trove of a book.

The wonderful Library of America provides us with Smith's "A True Relation", "The Proceedings of the English Colony in Virginia" (parts written by a variety of folks), "A Description of New England", "New Englands Trials" [sic], "The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles", "The True Travels", and his "Advertisements for the Unexperienced Planters of New-England". The words in these titles such as "trials" and "advertisements" had a much different meaning four hundred years ago. The point was that by 1620 thousands of people were risking their lives to try to settle in Virginia and New England and they wanted information. Smith gave them good information about what they were going to face. Oh, he certainly boasted and gave himself credit for things that others did, but his descriptions of what it takes to survive there are quite good.

This volume does not contain Smith's two books on sea travel. However, it does contain an additional four hundred pages of writings by others about the settling of Virginia. One covers the settlement of Roanoke before the Jamestown voyage. Others are written independently of Smith, at least one was written in response to his "Generall Historie" that upset some who felt he took to himself their deeds. They are all fascinating.

There are also pages of black and white plates showing aspects of Smith's life and other aspects of the early settlement including etchings of Smith and even of Pocahontas (Lady Rebecca) in her English finery during her one, fatal, year in England. There is another set of plates that are in color and show Indian life at the time of the events of this book. We get many useful maps, and index, notes on the text, notes on the plates, and a chronology of Smith's life.

This is a rich text that provides important history of early American settlement that everyone interested in the founding and history of our nation will want to read and know. The early events with the Indians are fascinating as are the descriptions of the trade and battles. Even the variety of spellings are fascinating. Yes, orthography was not standardized, but it is interesting how the same words are spelled differently even within the same writing let alone between authors.

A must have for all who appreciate American history.

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