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Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown,…

Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of… (2007)

by Benjamin Woolley

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Information from a large variety of source documents, compiled into an interesting narrative (without much padding). Excellent narration by David Drummond. This audiobook is about 14 hours, unabridged, and I have to admit I multi-tasked for a few minutes here and there. I'm not a history buff, but did study Jamestown in elementary school in Virginia, and have visited it numerous times. I thought I knew a lot about the settlement, but this book increased my knowledge, understanding, and perspective. ( )
  SharronA | Jun 13, 2012 |
Boring book, if historically accurate ( )
  buffalogr | Jun 8, 2011 |
Savage Kingdom is a recounting of the settlement of Jamestown, in particular, the people who led the enterprise and took on the challenge of settling a land they knew nothing about. It follows their journey in a landscape completely alien to them with inhabitants they can’t control, and in the end, threaten to destroy.

The book is very broad in its scope. It covers the goings on in England, John Smith’s explorations into Native American territories, the Jamestown settlement, the settlements in New England, the Spanish, Spanish America, and the monarchy’s involvement and interest in the Jamestown settlement. Sometimes I felt it was too inclusive. It wasn’t narrowed down and was more like a semester lecture and general overview of the world at the time instead of being sharply focused on the settlement.

I did enjoy the Native American interactions with the settlers though. John Smith’s adventures, trading, crowing of Powhatan, fighting, etc. provided interesting insights into how and where it all failed; it’s more than just a general misunderstanding brought about by a language barrier. Englishman with no ability to survive in the wilderness and with very meager survival skills were expecting the Native American tribes to feed them and became dumbfounded when it didn’t happen. They were so arrogant in assuming the land was theirs for the taking and truly believed someone would care for them.

Savage Kingdom was a frustrating book for me because you see all the faults and in many ways the problems inherent in the system. I wanted to really enjoy this book but I didn’t and I think it was due to the fact that I read another book on the subject last year and I felt I had already read some of this. It doesn’t make it bad, just not for me. It was well researched but I couldn’t get into it. ( )
  justabookreader | Mar 7, 2011 |
I was given this book by respected historians, so I felt confident that this book would be good quality, not full of false information or unchecked/invalid sources. It has been a while since I’ve done any study of American history, so what better new start than to begin at the very beginning. This book read as easy as a novel, which is rare in a history book because they can get rather technical, dry and textbook-like. There were times when it didn’t even feel like I was reading a nonfiction book because it was just so interesting and full of adventure and intrigue. You’ll get it all in this book: political manipulations, death, disease, mutiny, war, sabotage, desperation and adventure. This book is neither oversimplified nor overly complicated. There are times, I admit, where you may feel that the book drags. I suffered during the parts about British government and technical arrangements, but they were mere pieces in a book that is largely very entertaining while remaining informative. It’s a far cry from Disney, though. By the end of it, you’ll be well aware of the brutality of America’s early founding… from both the settlers and the Natives. Additionally, this book includes an international scope. While discussing the founding of the Jamestown colony, the author writes about how other leaders in countries like France and Spain felt. If you love history, nonfiction or a good adventure book, this one is definitely for you. ( )
1 vote morbidromantic | Dec 29, 2008 |
The "savages" of the title are really the white men, who descend to plunder without much understanding of the privation they're about encounter.
The writing itself is a little plodding, with leaps of topic inherent in not telling the story in one narrative arc and different povs. ( )
  KarenIrelandPhillips | Jan 13, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060090561, Hardcover)

Four centuries ago, and fourteen years before the Mayflower, a group of men—led by a one-armed ex-pirate, an epileptic aristocrat, a reprobate cleric and a government spy—left London aboard a fleet of three ships to start a new life in America. They arrived in Virginia in the spring of 1607 and set about trying to create a settlement on a tiny island in the James River. Despite their shortcomings, and against the odds, they built Jamestown, a ramshackle outpost that laid the foundations of the British Empire and the United States of America.

Drawing on new discoveries, neglected sources and manuscript collections scattered across the world, Savage Kingdom challenges the textbook image of Jamestown as a mere money-making venture. It reveals a reckless, daring enterprise led by outcasts of the Old World who found themselves interlopers in a new one. It charts their journey into a beautiful landscape and a sophisticated culture that they found both ravishing and alien, which they yearned to possess but threatened to destroy. They called their new home a "savage kingdom," but it was the savagery they had experienced in Europe that had driven them across the ocean and which they hoped to escape by building in America "one of the most glorious nations under the sun."

An intimate story in an epic setting, Woolley shows how the land of Pocahontas came to be drawn into a new global order, reaching from London to the Orinoco Delta, from the warring kingdoms of Angola to the slave markets of Mexico, from the gates of the Ottoman Empire to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:08 -0400)

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Drawing on new discoveries in the British archives and other previously untapped sources, a history of the Jamestown colony challenges popular misconceptions to offer insight into the philosophies, motivations, and challenges that influenced New World colonization.… (more)

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