Pocahontas: A Life in Two Worlds (Sterling Biographies Series)by Victoria Garrett Jones
The tale of the Powhatan princess from the Virginia woodlands is one of the best known and most loved in American history. While myth and legend have clouded some of the details, time has not diminished her bravery, selflessness, and commitment to peace. Nearly four centuries after her death, Pocahontas remains an inspiration, and her story will captivate every young reader.
A spirited biography untangles the accretion of myth and story around Pocahontas and makes clear what little is actually known and what fragments of the historical record are available. The text is rich in illustration and in sidebars (on longhouses, colonial diet, weaponry and so on) that illuminate the central narrative. Whether Pocahontas saved John Smith's life directly or as part of an elaborate ritual might not matter, argues Jones. Pocahontas and her people were certainly responsible for keeping the English settlement of Jamestown from starvation. Relations between English settlers and Native people were uneasy at best, and the author traces these carefully, relating how Pocahontas was later kidnapped by the British and held for ransom. When none was forthcoming, she was converted both to English ways and the Christian religion, marrying the widower John Rolfe and traveling to England, where Pocahontas saw John Smith once again and died at about the age of 21. An excellent stab at myth busting and capturing the nuances of both the figure and her times. (glossary, bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 9-12)
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