Book Reports / Love And Hate In Jamestown

Love And Hate In Jamestown

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Autor:  anton  19 November 2010
Tags:  Jamestown
Words: 847   |   Pages: 4
Views: 459

David Price’s reason for writing Love and Hate in Jamestown is to demystify the historical legends of John Smith and Pocahontas, and portray both as the reason why the Jamestown colony survived in the New World. Price supports this thesis by describing the people that inhabited the New World with the settlers at Jamestown, describing the leadership skills Smith possessed, and describing his method for saving the colony from disaster. Price wants to portray Smith and Pocahontas in the correct light, and correct the common misconception that the two were romantically involved. Price expresses this through an excellent narrative telling the story of the ship’s voyage across the Atlantic, the settlement of the colony, and the interactions that take place with the native peoples.

As I have stated, Price’s reason for writing this book is to finally tell the true story behind the colony of Jamestown. Many stories have been told of the colony, and Price has been exposed to them just as we have. He notes the Disney animated movie Pocahontas early in his text, “the imaginative 1995 Walt Disney Co. movie, for example, endowed Pocahontas with a Barbie-doll figure, dressed her in a deerskin from Victoria’s Secret, and made her Smith’s love interest.” (Price 4) The trouble behind this tale was that Smith and Pocahontas were “never romantically involved”, Price says. This is just one example of many that Price describes that show how the story of Jamestown has been altered by modern Americans. Price goes on to describe Pocahontas as the daughter of the great Chief Powhatan, a leader of a group of Indian tribes present in Virginia at the time of the Jamestown settlement. Price describes how Pocahontas’ ability to tug on her father’s heart strings was the reason John Smith’s settlement was saved from disaster at the hands of Indian warriors. Also, the romantic relationship falsely attributed to the pair is down struck by the fact that Pocahontas was a young girl of about eleven when they met. Price also describes the character of the people who voyaged with Smith to Jamestown. Many were members of a class in England known as ‘gentlemen’ those in which relied on their titles in life to make them prosperous, and did not know the value of hard work. Smith, after these ‘gentlemen’ failed as leaders at Jamestown to provide a stable English outpost in the New World, adopted the policy of “one, who does not work, does not eat.” This policy, along with Smith’s skills of oration, leadership, and organization, were the sole reason the James town colony avoided failure.

Price uses varying sources in his text, and explains at the end of his book the methods to his gathering research. In the section titled, “Editorial Method,” Price describes the way he has used dialogue, period text, dates, and colonial place names throughout the book. Also, Price’s extensive bibliography at the end of the text shows that he has extensive research on the Jamestown colony and John Smith, textually and literally backing up his book. He also uses quotes from the time period, which I think help to emphasize the point he is trying to make, nicely. In another section at the end of the book, Price entitles “Marginalia.” He gives his own opinion on some controversial historical issues concerning Jamestown. Historians have grappled over certain specifics of the Jamestown story, specifically, John Smith, and Price weighs in with his view here. Overall, Price uses his sources efficiently and correctly in writing about a topic so long ago in history.

Price, throughout Jamestown, uses his extensive knowledge and research to write a historical book that tells the true story behind the legend. This is one of Price’s many strengths in the text. After reading Love and Hate in Jamestown, I became more interested in learning about early American history in contrast with other areas in the field. Price’s excellent use of language gives his book a smooth read. Price’s book is informative and easy to read at the same time. This is a hard thing to find in reading history-based literature. Throughout the book, he tells the story of Jamestown fairly enough that it is believable. He is able to present both sides of debates about the colony so that the reader is able to come to their own conclusions, yet still be able to know what Price’s opinion is.

Price’s true strength in this book is his support of his main thesis. Price’s ability to reveal the true story of John Smith and Pocahontas is shown in his support of his theories, which are numerous. Price’s ability to portray John Smith as a capable leader despite the view of his co patriots at Jamestown is the true reason Price wrote this book. He wants to describe the real John Smith and Pocahontas, as well, and hopefully explain the real causes for the successful settlement of Jamestown.



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