The Jamestown Project

The Jamestown Project

Book - 2007
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Harvard University Press

Listen to a short interview with Karen Ordahl Kupperman
Host: Chris Gondek | Producer: Heron & Crane

Captain John Smith's 1607 voyage to Jamestown was not his first trip abroad. He had traveled throughout Europe, been sold as a war captive in Turkey, escaped, and returned to England in time to join the Virginia Company's colonizing project. In Jamestown migrants, merchants, and soldiers who had also sailed to the distant shores of the Ottoman Empire, Africa, and Ireland in search of new beginnings encountered Indians who already possessed broad understanding of Europeans. Experience of foreign environments and cultures had sharpened survival instincts on all sides and aroused challenging questions about human nature and its potential for transformation.

It is against this enlarged temporal and geographic background that Jamestown dramatically emerges in Karen Kupperman's breathtaking study. Reconfiguring the national myth of Jamestown's failure, she shows how the settlement's distinctly messy first decade actually represents a period of ferment in which individuals were learning how to make a colony work. Despite the settlers' dependence on the Chesapeake Algonquians and strained relations with their London backers, they forged a tenacious colony that survived where others had failed. Indeed, the structures and practices that evolved through trial and error in Virginia would become the model for all successful English colonies, including Plymouth.

Capturing England's intoxication with a wider world through ballads, plays, and paintings, and the stark reality of Jamestown--for Indians and Europeans alike--through the words of its inhabitants as well as archeological and environmental evidence, Kupperman re-creates these formative years with astonishing detail.



Baker & Taylor
A history of the Jamestown colony chronicles the settlement's turbulent first decade, drawing on archaeological, environmental, and historical research to describe the lives of the early settlers, their complex relationship with local Native American tribes, and the structures, institutions, and practices that evolved through trial and error to serve as a model for later successful colonies.

Baker
& Taylor

A history of the Jamestown colony, draws on archaeological, environmental, and historical research to describe the lives of the early settlers and their complex relationship with local Native American tribes.

Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007
ISBN: 9780674024748
0674024745
Branch Call Number: 973.21 KUPPE
Characteristics: viii, 380 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm

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ArapahoeHollyR Sep 19, 2017

A revisionist account of Jamestown that tries to place the project within a larger global and cultural context. Some of Kupperman's most interesting claims come from her view of the economic implications of the early settlement and its role in establishing the U.S. as a capitalist society. Her book also serves as a valuable synthesis of historiography on Jamestown.

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