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Captain John Smith: Jamestown and the Birth of the American Dreamby Dorothy Hoobler and Thomas Hoobler
Synopses & Reviews
In the predawn darkness of April 21, 1607, three small ships groped for landfall along the North American coastline. Confined below decks — and most likely in chains — was John Smith, a young, hot-tempered fellow accused of plotting mutiny and facing the possibility of execution. Many of the crew expected Smith to be hanged once they reached Virginia — and were shocked when Smith was named as one of the seven people who would make up the governing council of the new colony, a decision made before the ships left England. This caused many to wonder: just who was this John Smith, this brash, red-bearded nobody who seemed to have such powerful connections?
That question has been asked repeatedly for centuries; now, here is the most definitive answer. Captain John Smith explores the true history behind the man who would become the person most directly responsible for the survival of the Jamestown colony. Based on Smith's own writings — which history has proven to be accurate — and on letters and diaries from other Jamestown colonists and archives in both Virginia and England, this enlightening volume focuses in riveting detail on the years Smith spent in Jamestown and his efforts to promote the colony after his return to England, while also covering his swashbuckling earlier life.
Using newly discovered material, historians Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler present a well-rounded portrait of the Jamestown colony and Smith's accomplishments there, as well as new information on the Native Americans Smith and the other colonists encountered. The famous tale of Smith and Pocahontas carried down through history has distorted and even falsified their actual lives, turning them into colonial America's Romeo and Juliet. The Hooblers demythologize Smith's relationship with Pocahontas — who in reality was a preadolescent child — and examine the truth behind her efforts to rescue Smith from death, possibly more than once.
You'll experience all the heroic deeds, hairbreadth escapes, suffering, and glory of Smith's pre-Jamestown days — stirring events that have all but been forgotten. You'll be there as he finds himself thrown overboard ships only to be rescued; joins in fierce battles only to be gifted with riches; and encounters a variety of efforts to kill him — whether by jousting battle, ambush, or execution — only to find help from sympathizers. For Smith, it was often a case of the damsel helping the knight, appearing at a critical moment to spare his life yet again. His astounding ability to maneuver his way out of disastrous situations allowed Smith to make his mark — but did he owe his success to cunning, talent, or sheer luck?
As the settlement of Jamestown approaches its four hundredth anniversary, Captain John Smith leads the way with a thrilling, eye-opening account of this key figure in American history.
"[Smith] was precisely the sort of rootless swashbuckler to try his luck in the wilds of Virginia. And it is there that the Hooblers' saga is most engrossing..." Booklist
"[A] narrative that speeds along like an entertaining yarn — funny in places, sobering in others — making for a compelling and worthwhile read." Norfolk Virginian-Pilot
Book News Annotation:
Drawing from many primary sources including John Smith's own writings and those of other colonists, the authors give an account of his life, first in England, then as one of the founders of the Jamestown colony, as well as when he was charged with mutiny on the ship to America. They also deconstruct the myth of the relationship between Smith and Pocahontas. Writers Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler are authors of the 10-volume series The American Family Albums.
Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Book News Annotation:
Drawing from many primary sources including John Smith's own writings and those of other colonists, the authors give an account of his life, first in England, then as one of the founders of the Jamestown colony, as well as when he was charged with mutiny on the ship to America. They also deconstruct the myth of the relationship between Smith and Pocahontas. Writers Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler are authors of the 10-volume series The American Family Albums. Annotation Â©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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 swashbuckling 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.
This book focuses on the nearly three years that Captain John Smith spent in Jamestown, Virginia, from 1607 to 1609, but also covers briefly his swashbuckling earlier life and his work to promote the colony after his return to England. Using new material that has been found due to ongoing archeological work, the book presents a well-rounded portrait of the colony, as well as new information on the Native Americans Smith and the other colonists encountered.
About the Author
Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler are well experienced at writing on historical topics. Their ten-volume series for Oxford University Press, The American Family Albums, was acclaimed in the New York Times and Newsday and has received awards from educational and literary groups. Their novel, In Darkness, Death, won a 2005 Edgar Award for young adult fiction.
Table of Contents
1. Dreams of Glory.
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