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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly interesting!
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...
Published on November 9, 2001

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars historical details
I had a hard time getting through it. The historical details seemed tedious and redundant to read. I may add information to someone wanting to add information to present knowledge, but as a first time reader, I found it hard to get through.
Published 11 months ago by Annie


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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly interesting!, November 9, 2001
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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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and relevant history., May 5, 2006
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Atheen "Atheen" (Mpls, MN United States) - See all my reviews
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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.

Ms Kupperman ably fills that breach. Her discussion of Indian culture and politics during the age is very insightful. When I studied American colonial history years ago, the Indian people were hardly considered at all, and then mostly as "background noise," sort of part of the flora and fauna of the continent. That they had political acumen, let alone a political agenda, was not even considered, a lapse that made the history of the period lopsided and confusing. The academic perspective at the time-prior to the establishment of American Indian Studies programs in colleges and universities-was no doubt an outgrowth of the European point of view. Historians and like minded individuals in US society saw the expression of expansionism and the displacement and even extermination of native peoples as part of its "manifest destiny." So integral is this perspective to society's concept of itself even now, that it requires works like Roanoke to remove the cultural blinders. Through it all, though, the author neither blames nor excuses. Like a good journalist, she describes and explains what occurred, giving cultural background information on all parties that helps clarify interactions. Her discussion of 16th century English policy with respect to Ireland is especially relevant.

One of the most interesting facets of the book, but definitely one that took me a while to appreciate, was the degree to which it involved the history of Elizabethan England and the life of Sir Walter Raliegh and other English explorers. In fact this period of North American history from the perspective of its European heritage is pretty much about England and its relations with others: its international fortune, its social structure and social outlook, and so on.

While the story of Roanoke is part of US history, understanding its experience and demise only makes sense when placed in the context of what was going on world wide at the time. In fact, it's possible that the history of no specific place on the globe ever makes complete sense without referring to world context.

Overall the book gives a very detailed and informative account of early English experience in North America. With the above caveats, it would make an excellent source book for high school history and a good addition to a school library.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History comes alive in this study of America's oldest mystery, January 3, 2008
This review is from: Roanoke: The Abandoned Colony (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.

What is most interesting about this book is the depth of study devoted to the Carolina Algonquians, the Indians that were most commonly in contact with the failed colony. As stated by the author, there is probably no greater study of 16th century Indian life than that which was provided by the colonists of Roanoke Island. We are given in a concise and easy read, what was drawn from a large pool of non-fiction and personal interviews, a view of Indian life both before and after English contact.

The fact that the Roanoke Colony remains a question today is astounding considering that historians and archaeologists are able to piece together so much with modern scientific tools. This only further adds to the incredible mystery of the colony.

There are now, in the area of the colony (no one knows precisely where the colonists settled) studies involving DNA that may point to a possible solution to the riddle of the "Lost Colony". Until we have that solution, this book is an excellent source of all information available and it is presented by one of America's best authorities on early Indian interaction with European settlers.

A must read for anyone that is interested in the history of America. This is the first attempt by the English to settle the "New World" and this was a major stepping stone which led to the settlement of Jamestown, North America's first permanent English colony.

There are some flaws in the text that are justified by the fact that this work was published in 1984; somwehat confusing is the fact that this work is a second edition and, therefore, update should have included omission of outdated information, but the majority of this is not on the topic of the colony, rather on the origins of the Indian population of North America and thus easily overlooked.

A highly recommended resource.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When things fall apart..., August 11, 2011
This review is from: Roanoke: The Abandoned Colony (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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, December 23, 2007
By 
D. Montano (Mena, Arkansas) - See all my reviews
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this little book is full of details of Elizabethan life and personality as well as the story of the Roanoke colony. It's not possible to learn everything there is to know from one book, but Karen Kupperman has packed a lot of information and food for thought into a logical and easy to read volume.
You might also like to read "Roanoke, Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony". The two books compliment each other.
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3.0 out of 5 stars historical details, January 14, 2014
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This review is from: Roanoke: The Abandoned Colony (Paperback)
I had a hard time getting through it. The historical details seemed tedious and redundant to read. I may add information to someone wanting to add information to present knowledge, but as a first time reader, I found it hard to get through.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is THE book to read on Roanoke, March 24, 2004
By 
Thomas Bonar (Cypress, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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Well written, researched and documented. A fascinating mystery told in a great way.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice book, August 28, 2013
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This review is from: Roanoke: The Abandoned Colony (Paperback)
I bought this book for my wife so i cant give an accurate review but as far as the quality and looks of the book i would recomend it.
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2 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Quite dull, June 17, 2004
By A Customer
The prose is dry, and the book didn't provide any insights you couldn't get from just asking someone on the street -- no new material, no interesting conclusions.
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Roanoke: The Abandoned Colony
Roanoke: The Abandoned Colony by Karen Ordahl Kupperman (Paperback - January 18, 2007)
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