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Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma: The American Portraits Series Paperback – August 11, 2005


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Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma: The American Portraits Series + The Puritan Dilemma: The Story of John Winthrop (Library of American Biography)
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Product Details

  • Series: American Portraits
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Hill and Wang; First Edition edition (August 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809077388
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809077380
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Famous in American legend as the Indian woman who saved and then married Captain John Smith of Jamestown, Pocahontas has often been a symbol of the capitulation of Native America to British colonialism. Historian Townsend, working from a very fragmentary record, gives Pocahontas a fiercely independent life, within her own nation and outside it. In this often pedantic and speculative biography, Townsend traces Pocahontas’s life from her childhood and youth (when her strength and athletic ability rivaled the best of either sex) to her eventual marriage to John Rolfe and her move to England. Townsend presents her as shrewd in working for her people’s best interests, and self-assured and confident of her abilities to construct her own identity in a world dominated by powerful and imperialistic others. Unfortunately, a paucity of information results in too many conditional statements ("we can never really know," etc.); many readers will prefer genuine gaps.
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.

Review

Praise for Pocahontas and the Pohatan Dilemma:

"Camilla Townsend, who writes with a sharp sword and a crackling whip, refuses to believe anything just because so many people have repeated it." ---Harper's Magazine

'What Camilla Townsend does in Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma is to sift with care through all the written records she could find - her bibliography is impressive - and skillfully piece together a plausible picture of a brave, intelligent young woman and her eventful, if brief, life." ---John M. and Priscilla S. Taylor, The Washington Times

"This captivating book is ideal for anyone interested in the true story of Pocahontas, as well as historians and students interested in early Colonial American history." Simone Bonim, History in Review

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Fred L. Houpt on October 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have finally come to the end of this fine book and am delighted to share my views. Unlike the one other reviewer here at Amazon (Mohroy), I found the book to be richly rewarding on every possible level. Camilla Townsend's academic background is well known and she is highly respected in her field. Her ability to write a compelling narative is smartly coupled with a rich list of footnotes, so many of which come from original documents. In some cases highly academic books can be a bother when you are flipping back to the footnotes; not with this book. Each note was worth the attention and always added a deeper dimension. When you consider that Townsend was building a picture of these people that was not always the mainstream her reliance on her reseach more than convinced me of her perspective.

What is the overall impression of the story she paints? I'll tell you, that when I first discovered this story, through the lens of the very emotionally moving movie, "The New World", I had very little knowledge of the real story. In following up on my initial reactions to the movie I endeavored to read what modern historians have to say. I read one book which I can also highly recommend and then I found Townsend. The first was "Captain John Smith: Jamestown and the birth of the American Dream" by Thomas and Dorothy Hoobler, November 2005, published by Wiley. This was a sensational revelation and spurred me on to know more. Townsend has filled in the missing pieces and is essential in my view for anyone who wants to know the story shed of all of it's mythology.

"The New World" is a fine movie and entertainment and I will always treausre it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Stebbins on October 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have read many books about Pocahontas over the years ranging from horrible to excellent. This one ranks very highly with me as I found it to be not only an easy read, but an interesting one as well. The book was very well researched and gives some interesting insights into who the real Pocahontas may have been. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about this, to me, incredible woman from the past.

I must add that while I do not agree with everything the author wrote I still found it to be a very good book. Basically, I am someone who enjoys reading a wide variety of books on a subject, in this case Pocahontas, and making up my own mind based on everything I have read. I take certain things with a grain of salt and fully agree with others and this book is no exception to that. But, that is not a bad thing in my mind because especially when it comes to Pocahontas most of her life is completely open to interpretation since so little is really known about her and her life.

If you are interested in Pocahontas and her story at all get this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By PhDoobiedoobiedoo on January 29, 2013
Format: Paperback
The fact that people reviewing this book are actually referencing a Disney movie as a relevant and legitimate source of information, historical or otherwise, makes me weep for humanity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marie A on October 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Book was interesting with a different view of Pocahontas than the general perception. Well documented. This book also gave a much more detailed discussion of Powhatan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. M. Ironside on August 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
Really one of the best nonfiction books I've read in years. A factual and very respectful account of Pocahontas' life and the political and cultural struggle of the Powhatan Indians. Logical, frank, compelling, exceptionally well-written and well-cited, it presents a portrait of Powhatan culture that avoids the dehumanizing treatment the Indian side of this story has commonly received. I purchased and read it as one of several research books for an upcoming project, but it quickly became my primary source. I will most definitely read more books by the same author!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jim McCall on May 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is good reading in preparation for the forthcoming commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the Pocahontas/Rolfe wedding next April 5.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Fall Into Books on September 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had to read this book for a history class, and I really enjoyed it! It was extremely informative, and Townsend does an excellent job of shooting down myths without making any presumptions. I recommend this to anyone who would like to know the truth about Pocahontas!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was required for our daughter's education masters program and it was very nice to be able to get it here for much less than what her local book store wanted. Excellent. It is a rendition about the real world rendition and not a fairy tale version.

If required reading for you, compare and save here too plus get it quickly like we did!
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