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Jamestown, 1607 Hardcover – March 1, 2007
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4–7—Cooper describes the settlement of Jamestown in a readable, uncluttered text. Although he provides some background with an introductory section outlining European colonialism in the 1400s and 1500s, the majority of the book presents the British perspective. Native Americans are described primarily in the context of their interactions with the settlers. Quotations from primary sources such as George Percy and John Smith are incorporated into the text in an effective manner. The illustrations are outstanding. Reproductions of period drawings and etchings, they are exceptionally clear and large, and often full page. Several illustrations of the Algonquin Indians, produced by "Lost Colonist" John White in the late 1500s, are included. As a result, many details of Native life are apparent even when they are not explicitly described in the text. Cooper does not break new ground; he presents a traditional interpretation of events, including John Smith's version of Pocahontas saving his (Smith's) life. Other theories are acknowledged only in the notes section. The author does not incorporate recent archaeological findings from the Jamestown site. However, he is a careful historian, and he includes an informative source list and chapter notes. Most of the books on this topic are for either a younger or older audience. This one fills a gap, and is useful for distilling several primary sources into a form that students will understand.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
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Despite the single-year purview suggested by its title, this well-designed book presents a history of Jamestown from late 1606, when the Discovery, the Susan Constant, and the Godspeed set sail from London to Virginia, to 1609, when John Smith's injuries forced his return to England. Based largely on the writings of those present, notably Smith, the book offers a very readable, detailed account of the settlers' exploration, deprivation, starvation, illness, and political infighting as well as their relations with Native Americans, which encompassed cordiality and kindness as well as great brutality. Large black-and-white reproductions of period paintings, engravings, drawings, maps, and documents illustrate the book. Back matter includes a time line, source notes for quotes and some statistics, short lists of recommended books and Internet sites, and a lengthy discussion of sources, in which Cooper notes the lack of primary documents about the Native Americans from any but the European point of view. Vivid and informative. Carolyn Phelan
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