Jamestown Colony: A Political, Social, and Cultural History

Front Cover

Four centuries after its founding, Jamestown has become the stuff of movies, legend, and tourism. This important work treats the reality behind the legends--Pocahontas, John Rolfe, Powhatan, John Smith, and others--and puts the stories into a broader context. More than 250 A-Z entries detail the colonial strategies, military considerations, political realities, and personal privations that went into the creation of the first enduring beachhead in the British effort to colonize the New World.

Based on primary sources and ongoing archaeological work, this book is the most comprehensive look at life in Jamestown. The reader will find detailed scholarship on all the familiar names along with the stories of the lesser known, told in their own words when possible. Published in the quadricentennial of Jamestown's founding, this solid reference is an invaluable resource for the student and history buff.


What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

There are so many inaccuracies, the information in this book cannot be trusted. A few examples: Matachanna is named as Pocahontas' brother (she was her sister), the author states that Pocahontas died of smallpox (what she died of is only speculated), and that the fort at Point Comfort was abandoned during the Starving Time of 1609-10, whereas Point Comfort was occupied by a group of well fed colonists during that time. There are much more accurate books written about Jamestown's early years. Choose Love and Hate in Jamestown by Price, A Land as God Made It by Horn, or Jamestown the Buried Truth by Kelso. 

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

A complete reading of the book by F. Grizzard notwithstanding, I will point to the portion relating to the Accohannock/Occohannock People of the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. It is that text that does not agree with my research nor any notable works on the subject of the Acohannock tribe; nor does the text correctly identify the Annemessex Tribe. I have viewed the publicly available records, national and state archives, and respected works of former and contemporary historians; which lead me to believe the author has put forth to his readers a false narrative, without factual basis. The import of this work, as evidenced by the National Park Service (NPS) in Its use of the author's text in formulating their project called Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. requires this reviewer to highlight this small but egregious discrepancy. Therefore, I challenge the author to provide documentary and accredited evidence of his portrayal and context of the historic Accohannocks and Annemessex communities as they exiisted prior to 1900. 


A Note about Sources
About the Authors

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2007)

Frank E. Grizzard, Jr., is director of the Lee Family Digital Archive, an online repository of the collected papers of the historic Lee Family of Virginia located at Washington and Lee University in Charlottesville, VA. His published works include ABC-CLIO's George Washington: A Biographical Companion.

D. Boyd Smith was born and grew up in the Jamestown, VA, area and has spent most of his career in the information technology field. He has worked as an archaeologist on both prehistoric and historic sites in Virginia.

Bibliographic information