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Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New Nation Reprint Edition

77 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1400031726
ISBN-10: 1400031729
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This sparkling book retells a beloved tale in modern terms. Journalist Price's subtitle suggests that the book might be only about John Smith and Pocahontas-who "crossed into one another's cultures more than any other Englishman or native woman had done"-as well as about Pocahontas's eventual husband, John Rolfe. Fortunately, the book ranges more widely than that. Price relates the entire riveting story of the founding of Virginia. Smith is of course at the center of the tale, because rarely did a colonial leader so bountifully combine experience, insight, vision, strength of character and leadership skills to overcome extraordinary odds. But no one will come away from this work without heightened admiration also for the natives, especially Chief Powhatan, and greater knowledge of the introduction of a third people, African slaves, into the Chesapeake. The book's leitmotif is the interaction of differing cultures and men, like the British gentry, whom Smith scorned for refusing to adapt to hard colonial labor, and the wily Indians, who resorted to starving out the colonists and in 1622 massacred many of them. If there's a fault in a work built unobtrusively on the best scholarship, it's Price's insistence that we see Virginia principally as a place that rewarded courage and hard labor-for white men-in the service of self-advancement and personal liberty. Such a place it was. But it was also for all participants a site, at the start of the nation's history, of danger, horror and death. This is a splendid work of serious narrative history. 2 maps.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School--A richly flavored, fascinating narrative of the first two decades of the Jamestown settlement. Price has drawn on a wealth of primary sources, but details don't interrupt the flow of the story. As a mercenary in the Netherlands and Romania, and a slave in Turkey, Smith learned the importance of communicating in new languages and understanding unfamiliar cultures. He developed the skills that would later enable him to stand between the fragile new colony and disaster. The author describes the establishment of the Virginia Company and provides intriguing portraits of the new colonists. Parts of the tale sound surprisingly modern. Fearful that bad news would spook investors and discourage future colonists, the company censored accounts of hardship in letters coming from Virginia. Despite demands from London to cultivate more corn and less tobacco, tobacco always sold at much higher prices, and so remained the crop of choice, even when the colonists were forced to buy corn from the natives. Although reliable information about Pocahontas is incomplete, Price's depiction of the bright, compassionate princess is warm and admiring. Smith's return to England to recover from an injury resulted in disaster for Jamestown. The inexperienced former courtiers made incredible errors that led to the Starving Time and massacres. The author describes these horrific events in graphic detail. The book concludes with an account of Smith's writings and an analysis of the man's vision of America.--Kathy Tewell, Chantilly Regional Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (January 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400031729
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400031726
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David A. Price's most recent book, The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company (Knopf, 2008), was named a Wall Street Journal "Best Book of the Year" and a Fast Company and Library Journal "Best Business Book of the Year."

His previous book, Love and Hate in Jamestown (Knopf, 2003), a history of the Jamestown colony and the Virginia Company, was a New York Times "Notable Book of the Year" and a School Library Journal "Best Adult Book for Young Adults."

He has also contributed articles to The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Forbes, the Harvard Business Review online, National Geographic Online, and

He received his bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary and graduate degrees from Harvard and Cambridge. He lives in Richmond, Va.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Smallchief on November 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
With apologies to Peggy Lee and Walt Disney, they didn't -- but the story of the Indian princess saving Captain John Smith's life is true. In fact, she saved his life on several occasions. But, in the end, believing Smith to be dead, she married another Virginia colonist, John Rolfe, who was not a bad sort although a bit of a prig.

This is the story of the British colony in Virginia from its founding in 1607 until its near destruction by the Indians and reconstruction in the 1620s. Captain John Smith was only in Virginia for the first few years of the colony, but he saved it from disaster over and over again. Surrounded by idle aristocrats who wanted to search for gold rather than grow corn, Smith adopted the no-nonsense policy that those who didn't work didn't eat. Many of the numerous "gentlemen" in the company preferred death to work -- and realized their desires.

I was surprised at how humane and idealistic were the aims of the parent company of Jamestown back in Britain. The company advocated peaceful coexistence with the Indians and there was much criticism of Smith's more aggressive -- and practical -- strategy. In retrospect, it is amazing that Jamestown survived as it was reduced to near nothingness on several occasions by starvation, disease, and Indian attacks. One of the chapters tells of the arrival of the first Negro slaves in the colony -- an ominous portent for the future.

For me the most interesting chapter of the book was about Pocahontas in England and her single meeting after a long separation with John Smith. I was especially amused at the author's speculation that Pocahontas was appalled at the unhealthy and squalid living conditions of the British in London at that time.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By William Brown on December 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The literature of Jamestown exemplifies a history of frustrating complexity. This is partly because the history of Jamestown has become the playing field of propagandists (e.g. post Revolutionary Americans justifying the Revolution, as Tisdale says, by putting down the "gentlemen" of the colony) to Henry Adams, one of the otherwise great minds of America-perhaps its greatest-who admittedly set out to demolish the history of the South in the Civil War era, as Price himself points out. Romanticists have enjoyed a field day inventing a relationship that never existed between a mature John Smith and the child Pocahontas, and Smith himself is so unlikable a hero as to make an unpleasant historical subject. Add the fact that most of the productive research on Jamestown in our century has been archaeological or documentary, and add the fact that during the period concerned Jamestown officials come and go and return again, one is presented with a kaleidascope of confusion. Only with the recent publication of JAMESTOWN NARRATIVES, which arranges the sources in an order comprehensible to the gentle reader and Ivor Noel Hume's outstanding THE VIRGINIA ADVENTURE, has the picture begun to come together for any but the specialists. Bearing in mind that Hume, one of the world's top archaeologists, covers both the Roanoke settlement and Jamestown, this is the first modern book I have seen that embodies the latest research, deals only with Jamestown and does so in a way that is both accurate and readable. This is an excellent starting place for anyone who wants to understand the early colony.
I do have one very small problem with the volume. The gentlmen still come off badly.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By D. Jack Elliot on September 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is easily the most absorbing history book I have ever read. Price is a very good writer; furthermore his narrative is thoroughly researched, detached and unbiased, and optimistic. Between the English and the natives Price doesn't take sides or pass judgement, which I find gratifying as I tend strongly to resist any interpretation of history, even in times of violence and atrocity, that sees it even somewhat in terms of black and white, the good guys against the bad. It just doesn't work that way. If there are any bad guys for Price, they are only the inept early leaders at Jamestown, whose deadly incompetence John Smith was only sometimes able to neutralize.

Far more than only the story of John Smith and Pocahontas, this history covers the narrow survival of the early colony at Jamestown, the subtleties of the diplomacy and military stand-offs with the native tribes, the broader scope of diplomatic relations between the European powers of the day, the travels of several of the Powhatans to London, the arrival of the first African slaves to Virginia, the natives' too-late (and ultimately self-destructive) effort to force the colonists out through the massacre of 1622, and the early emergence of a distinctly American character in the colonists by their second or third decade in the New World.

Don't pass this one by! Almost two centuries of lesser-known, but disticntly American history took place before the Revolutionary War. Right from the start, as personified in the extraordinary John Smith, the settlers had a unique outlook and lifestyle that constituted the beginnings of American character and culture. Price communicates all of it with a novelists' skill.
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