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Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown Paperback – July 5, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press (July 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813925967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813925967
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #759,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This is an extremely valuable book that will appeal to a wide audience of general readers and scholars.... It is written in a lively style and really makes good on the promise to tell the story of early seventeenth-century Virginia from the Native Americans’ point of view.

(Karen O. KuppermanSilver Professor of HistoryNew York University, author of Indians and English: Facing Off in Early America )

Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.


About the Author

Helen C. Rountree, Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Old Dominion University, is the author and editor of numerous works on the Native Americans of the East Coast, including Powhatan Foreign Relations, 1500-1722 and, with Thomas E. Davidson, Eastern Shore Indians of Virginia and Maryland (both Virginia).

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Customer Reviews

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See all 11 customer reviews
If you're a big history buff, this book is for you.
Rudy Avila
All three of these books are very well researched but each draw very different stories and conclusions.
Fred L. Houpt
This book is the story of Jamestown from the Native American point of view.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Fred L. Houpt on January 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
I am fortunate to have read four excellent books on the Pocahontas / John Smith story. As I have read one after the other each has added seasoning, each has distilled the myth from the acts, each is a different perspective on THE seminal moment at the beginning of European history in America.

The first book I read was "Captain John Smith: Jamestown and the Birth of the American Dream" (Kindle Edition) by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler. We learn from a thorough biography of Smith at what a full and tumultuous life he lived. If even one half of what Smith wrote about his exploits was true, then his life was one of the most storied and lucky of the century. No matter how you look upon his pre-American exploits, by the time he sets foot in Virginia he is a well seasoned and experienced soldier.

The next book was "Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma" by Camilla Townsend. Full of very important information about Pocahontas, the author tends to vilify Smith as a boastful liar, her sympathies towards Pocahontas run as deep. We learn much about the Powhatan people and the times they lived in.

The third book was "Love & Hate in Jamestown" by David A Price. He tends to take both Pocahontas at her word (the very few we actually know of) and almost all of John Smith's many words....at face value. All three of these books are very well researched but each draw very different stories and conclusions.

Coming now to the fourth and probably the finest of them, "Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives changed by Jamestown" by Helen C Rountree, I think that I have finally realized as accurately as I can who these people were and what happened at Jamestown.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By R. DelParto VINE VOICE on August 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The major theme of POCAHONTAS POWHATAN OPECHANCANOUGH: THREE INDIAN LIVES CHANGED BY JAMESTOWN revolves around truth. For each story that has been told about Virginia's Jamestown settlement or Pocahontas in general, its has centered on the Captain John Smith and Pocahontas legend and myth that has been overly romanticized in novels and in movies. At this time, no scholar has made the attempt to intertwine the Indian voice within the English story of Jamestown. However, Helen Rountree attempts to provide the Native American voice, but from letters and accounts by English colonists and foreigners. It is unfortunate that the Indians did not record their accounts of the arrival of these new world settlers, or as Rountree suggests, invaders. Nonetheless, Rountree places the three major participants' semi-biographical accounts at the forefront of this study in order to incorporate their contribution to the settlement as well as the invasion of white colonists to the Indian landscape.

Rountree examines these three major actors and their way of life from anthropological perspective. Indeed, this is an historical narrative that deals with ethnohistory, but one that is " about one side only" (p. 6). Historians study their subject matters in order to get to the bottom of how an event occurred and its end result - think in terms of the past while writing in the present. Rountree takes the same approach, and studied the Powhatan side with why and how they acted the way they did. Rountree is critical and frank about past accounts of the Jamestown story as told by historian, William Strachey, HISTORIE OF TRAVELL INTO VIRGINIA BRITANIA and his plagiarized version of John Smith's narrative, GENERALL HISTORIE, which takes an English perspective that downplays the Indian presence.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Rudy Avila on November 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Everyone is familiar with the story of Pocahontas and British explorer/adventurer John Smith. They are romantic stories fed to us by the likes of Disney (10 yrs ago in the 1995 film) and countless romanticized versions in historical fiction novels. This "documentary" book exposes the truth about what really happened in the span of time that John Smith, Jon Rolfe and the Virginia Company founded Jamestown and dealt with the Indian tribes headed by Chief Powhatan and his brother Openchancanough. Since Thanksgiving is fast approaching, this makes a fine book to read if you are interested in the earliest British colonial period of the 1600's, when the pilgrims fist arrived in the Eastern coast of the United States. This period has been romanticized by movies and novels, evoking a thrilling time of danger, intrigue and romance, when Indians and colonists sparred and sometimes made peace, even made love. Princess Pocahontas was the daughter of Chief Powhatan. She was only fifteen or so when she first met Jon Smith and a romance was highly unlikely, even if perhaps the girl felt an attraction to the supposedly attractive adventurer. John Smith had traveled across the globe to foreign lands as a British explorer and was in his day a bad boy. That he may have gotten into trouble with Chief Powhatan and his people is probably true. Pocahontas was a diplomat, a healer/medicine woman and regarded as a peacemaker. Even if she didn't do a dramatic a thing as offer herself up as sacrifice to save John Smith's life, she did for a time lessen tension between the natives and the colonists. She married Jon Rolfe, a British nobleman, was converted to Christianity, learned to read and speak English. She journeyed across the Atlantic, leaving behind her old life in the tribe and became a popular figure in London society.Read more ›
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