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Roanoke: The Abandoned Colony 2nd Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0742552630
ISBN-10: 0742552632
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Editorial Reviews

Review

The definitive account of the 'lost colonists' of Roanoke. Karen Ordahl Kupperman tells a dramatic story of courage, greed, and misadventure. . . . Anyone curious about the enduring mysteries of Roanoke will enjoy Kupperman's book.--T. H. Breen

About the Author

Karen Ordahl Kupperman is Silver Professor of History at New York University. She is the award-winning author of Indians and English: Facing Off in Early America and Providence Island, 1630–1641: The Other Puritan Colony.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; 2 edition (January 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742552632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742552630
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
I bought this book because I needed to write a book review for my American History review course. I was expecting to trudge through a hundred and some odd boring pages, but was pleasantly surprised.
It was very well written, and read more like a short novel than a history book. While providing information on the many people involved in the Roanoke adventures, it also reviewed the general socio-economic factors influencing American colonization in general. It really contained a ton of information on American colonization and the European factors behind it, and it presented it in such a way that it told a story, rather than simply jumping from time-period and event to time-period and event! (like many of those so called "textbooks")
The author is a noted authority on the early contacts between Europeans and Native Americans.
Read it, you'll like it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not certain why, but books on the "lost" colony of Roanoke seemed to catch my eye, so I added several to my wish list. I selected Karen O. Kupperman's volume as the first to read and found it interesting and insightful.

Roanoke, the Abandoned Colony is a little old and reflects it's 1984 vintage. Settlement of the North and South American continents is described as having occurred by way of a "land bridge" during the glacial epic 10,000 to 40,000 years ago. Native people are depicted as having followed their game animals across the Bering Strait into the Americas. Today this is considered somewhat less likely than it was prior to the 1990s, and alternative possibilities are usually given in more recent works on the topic.

Once beyond the background history of the native population, however, the author is on firmer ground. The ample documentation of early English settlement provides her with evidence for a thorough discussion of the period. Much of her background information, however, is taken from secondary rather than primary sources. The notes to the edition contain references to works written in the 1960s, 70s, and 80's about Roanoke, Raleigh, the Southeastern Indians, and so on, rather than documents by early explorers, although she consults those doing original research with primary sources or with archaeological field data.

I had rather expected a more sensational approach to the topic; most of us who know anything at all about Roanoke simply know of the mysterious disappearance of its colonists and the name Virginia Dare. Neglected beyond that introduction by most high school American history courses-in fact many college courses-the average reader is left with a lacuna in his/her understanding of the colonial era.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent review of all topics related to the preparations, settlement, and ultimate failure of America's first English colony. The egotistical players (Ralegh, Greenville, Lane) are studied along with the realistic forward thinkers (both Richard Hakluyts, White, Harriot) and the Indians who were encroached upon to result in a fair and balanced account of the political, social, religious and cultural reasons for the failure of the "Lost Colony".

The subtitle, "The Abandoned Colony" is remarkably insightful and appropriate and the book explains in clear and specific terms why this attempt at colonization was destined for failure from the outset. The author is clear in her logic and in her explanations of what took place. Each chapter leads the reader from the back-story toward the ultimate reasons for the deserted colony.

This capitalist effort was a corporate subsidized suicide mission and the facts supporting such a thesis are, regrettably for those who history will now vilify, all to clear.

The book reads surprisingly like a work of fiction; the story of the people, their interactions, motivations and personalities, all laid out like a strange tale resulting in a Steven King like disaster (King did reference the "Lost Colony" in his screenplay "The Storm of the Century"). The fact that this colony resulted in failure is no shock looking back. But Karen Ordahl Kupperman gives great detail to the climate of the times which resulted in such a seemingly obvious disaster waiting to happen. Obviously, the colonists and the leaders did not forsee disaster, but the book reads like a thriller in which we know the outcome but not how the final chapter is reached.
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Format: Paperback
Everything went wrong. The first ships were sent for the wrong reasons, with all the wrong men, and armed with all the wrong ideas. It really does give a lot of information without getting bored or bogged down in details. The author does not talk down to us - giving us all the knowledge and evidence available to help understand the flaws, merits and issues of European culture trying to colonize the New World. The author talks about the politics of the English Court, the relationships with the Indians and other European nations, the mind set of the men sent in the first days of the colony.
In the end the mystery is why is lasted as long as it did and why didn't they use the lessons here to help Jamestown? Well, to be honest, some of the lessons were used and some were not.
I would also suggest The Deadly Politics of Giving: Exchange and Violence at Ajacan, Roanoke, and Jamestown by Seth Mallios if you wanted to learn more about what factors were involved. I think it helps build up a complete picture of what happened with the first colonies.
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