Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America

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Harper Collins, Apr 10, 2007 - History - 496 pages
8 Reviews

Four centuries ago, and fourteen years before the Mayflower, a group of men—led by a one-armed ex-pirate, an epileptic aristocrat, a reprobate cleric and a government spy—left London aboard a fleet of three ships to start a new life in America. They arrived in Virginia in the spring of 1607 and set about trying to create a settlement on a tiny island in the James River. Despite their shortcomings, and against the odds, they built Jamestown, a ramshackle outpost that laid the foundations of the British Empire and the United States of America.

Drawing on new discoveries, neglected sources and manuscript collections scattered across the world, Savage Kingdom challenges the textbook image of Jamestown as a mere money-making venture. It reveals a reckless, daring enterprise led by outcasts of the Old World who found themselves interlopers in a new one. It charts their journey into a beautiful landscape and a sophisticated culture that they found both ravishing and alien, which they yearned to possess but threatened to destroy. They called their new home a "savage kingdom," but it was the savagery they had experienced in Europe that had driven them across the ocean and which they hoped to escape by building in America "one of the most glorious nations under the sun."

An intimate story in an epic setting, Woolley shows how the land of Pocahontas came to be drawn into a new global order, reaching from London to the Orinoco Delta, from the warring kingdoms of Angola to the slave markets of Mexico, from the gates of the Ottoman Empire to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DarthDeverell - LibraryThing

In Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America, Benjamin Wooley writes, “One of the great questions of history, which it is the purpose of this book to consider ... Read full review

Review: Savage Kingdom

User Review  - Kenneth Davison - Goodreads

One of my favorite historical writers. This book is very well researched. The brutal truth of the passages can make a body a tad queasy at times, but definitely gives one a fantastic warts-and-all picture of all the historical figures we tend to reverence without knowing anything about them. Read full review

Contents

The Astrologer
234
Devils Island
240
Deliverance
262
A Pallid Anonymous Creature
277
Strange Fish
288
The Good Husband
306
Twelfth Night
329
Imbangala
351

Bloody Flux
95
True Relations
119
The Virginian Sea
146
PART THREE
183
El Dorado
185
The Mermaid
190
Promised Land
218
The Treasurer
368
The Viperous Brood
377
The Unmasked Face
390
notes
411
bibliography
437
index
459
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About the author (2007)

Benjamin Woolley is an award-winning writer and broadcaster. He is the author of the best-selling The Queen's Conjuror: The Life and Magic of Dr. John Dee and Heal Thyself: Nicholas Culpeper and the Civil War for the Heart of Medicine in Seventeenth-Century England. His first book, Virtual Worlds, was short-listed for the RhÔne-Poulenc Prize and has been translated into eight languages. His second work, The Bride of Science, examined the life of Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron's daughter. He has written and presented documentaries for the BBC on subjects ranging from the fight for liberty during the English Civil War to the end of the Space Age. He has won the Arts Journalist of the Year Award and an Emmy for his commentary for Discovery's Three Minutes to Impact. He lives in London.

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