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A kingdom strange : the brief and tragic…

A kingdom strange : the brief and tragic history of the lost colony of… (original 2010; edition 2010)

by James P. P. Horn

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Title:A kingdom strange : the brief and tragic history of the lost colony of Roanoke
Authors:James P. P. Horn
Info:New York : Basic Books, c2010.
Collections:Your library

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A Kingdom Strange: The Brief and Tragic History of the Lost Colony of Roanoke by James Horn (2010)



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too encyclopedic for me; I like lots of story with my facts! ( )
  lindap69 | Apr 5, 2013 |
"A Kingdom Strange: the Brief and Tragic History of the Lost Colony of Roanoke" is a well-researched account of Sir Walter Raleigh’s failed attempts to establish an English settlement in North America. Raleigh wished to found a thriving colony to accomplish four purposes: to attack more effectively Spanish treasure ships returning to Spain from Central and South America; to keep Spanish settlement out of North America; to obtain great wealth by harvesting the land’s natural resources, in particular gold and silver; and to discover an easy passage to the Pacific Ocean and the trade-rich orient.

Historian James Horn takes us methodically through the separate voyages to North Carolina’s Outer Banks and Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds beginning with the exploratory voyage of Arthur Barlowe and Philip Amadas in 1584 and ending with John White’s tragic attempt in 1590 to re-connect with the settlement he as governor had been forced to leave three years earlier to address in London the settlement’s need for relocation and its shortage of food and supplies.

Horn introduces us to the local Native American culture. He narrates effectively the arrogance and brutality of Captain Richard Grenville and Governor Ralph Lane and the eventual recognition by tribal leaders that these foreigners and their men are not gods nor allies but avaricious enemies. We see the measures taken by the Secotan Indians to rid themselves of these Englishmen, and we witness Governor Lane’s vicious retaliation. We feel artist-turned-idealistic governor John White’s frustration and anguish as he attempts to plant a new colony after Lane and his soldiers return to England. We recognize White’s need to return to London to arrange for additional settlers and supplies to be transported to Roanoke to enable the settlement to move to a safer geographic location. We learn why three years elapse before he is able to return. We see the little evidence he finds that leads him to believe where the people of his abandoned village have relocated. We feel his despair as he is prevented the opportunity to verify his supposition. We then judge the validity of the author’s theory of fate of White’s “lost” colony.

Immediately after I retired from teaching, I researched this subject matter and wrote a brief YA manuscript that if copied future Orinda, CA eighth grade students could have read. Horn’s narration, published years afterward (2010), has provided me tidbits of information I didn’t known. (Example: Walter Raleigh’s promotional efforts, planning, and preparatory actions that preceded each voyage) Horn’s footnotes offered me additional information. His timeline of events that affected discovery and colonization in America from 1492 to 1701 is also useful.

If I choose to write a full-length novel about the clash of English explorers and settlers and Native Americans at Roanoke, James Horn’s book will serve as an important secondary source. Concise yet detailed, quite readable, it would benefit any reader seeking to learn about the origins of our country’s past. ( )
  HaroldTitus | Jan 10, 2013 |
Probably one of the more approachable books on the subject of the Lost Colony. A colony doomed from the outset, not only due to the elements of the New World, but also because of the whimsical politics of England at the time. Horn does a decent job of setting the political and sociological stage of the late 16th century and the players involved; the relationship of Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth, John White and his struggle against whim and bureaucracy to put together a rescue voyage in the middle of countries at war; the war between England and Spain; Captain John Smith's claimed attempts to find out what happened to the people of Roanoke Island. Still though, despite all the claimed evidence by people like Smith (who was a notorious bragger in his memoirs), you have to wonder if some of the witness testimony claimed by Europeans are valid or just generating Tall Tales for the history books. Ultimately there is no real solid evidence (so far) of what exactly happened (Horn speculates the whole dang mystery in the last 5 or six pages), and anyone who knows the story already will not find much revelation here, although it IS a good book that puts it all in one place in an approachable narrative. A decent read, but I would really like to see a more archeological book be published on the subject, much like Dr. William Kelso's book Jamestown: the Buried Truth.

On a side note:
So many of these "homestead" stories (Lost Colony, Donnor Party, for example) develop a pattern of people who get more or less stranded due to circumstances brought on by others, and there is usually one or a few people who struggle to save them or bring relief. ( )
  noblechicken | May 13, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0465004857, Hardcover)

In 1587, John White and 117 men, women, and children landed off the coast of North Carolina on Roanoke Island, hoping to carve a colony from fearsome wilderness. A mere month later, facing quickly diminishing supplies and a fierce native population, White sailed back to England in desperation. He persuaded the wealthy Sir Walter Raleigh, the expedition’s sponsor, to rescue the imperiled colonists, but by the time White returned with aid the colonists of Roanoke were nowhere to be found. He never saw his friends or family again.

In this gripping account based on new archival material, colonial historian James Horn tells for the first time the complete story of what happened to the Roanoke colonists and their descendants. A compellingly original examination of one of the great unsolved mysteries of American history, A Kingdom Strange will be essential reading for anyone interested in our national origins.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:14 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In this gripping account based on new archival material, colonial historian James Horn tells for the first time the complete story of what happened to the Roanoke colonists and their descendants.

(summary from another edition)

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