ISBN-10:
0674024745
ISBN-13:
9780674024748
Pub. Date:
03/15/2007
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
The Jamestown Project

The Jamestown Project

by Karen Ordahl Kupperman
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Overview

Listen to a short interview with Karen Ordahl KuppermanHost: 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674024748
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 03/15/2007
Pages: 392
Product dimensions: 6.52(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.27(d)

About the Author

Karen Ordahl Kupperman is Silver Professor of History at New York University.

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     vii
Introduction: Creation Myths     1
Elizabethan England Engages the World     12
Adventurers, Opportunities, and Improvisation     43
Indian Experience of the Atlantic     73
English Hunger for the New     109
Grasping America's Contours     145
A Welter of Colonial Projects     183
Jamestown's Uncertain Beginnings     210
The Project Revised     241
James Cittie in Virginia     278
Notes     329
Index     371

What People are Saying About This

The Jamestown Project is the culmination of nearly everything that Karen Kupperman has written in the last three decades. She makes a compelling case that early Virginia, despite its false starts and appalling mortality, taught the English what successful colonization required. A rare combination of exhaustive research, original ideas, and graceful writing.

Daniel K. Richter

If anyone is equipped to say something really new about Jamestown at its four hundredth anniversary, it is Karen Kupperman, with her deep knowledge of early modern colonial ventures of all sorts. This marvelous book teaches us why our usual way of thinking about Jamestown as the "first English colony" is utterly wrong--and why, nonetheless, Jamestown invented patterns that every other English colony would follow.
Daniel K. Richter, author of Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America

Peter C. Mancall

Americans have too long obscured Jamestown's history by shrouding it in nationalistic myths and overwrought stories of Captain John Smith and Pocahontas. With extraordinary skill, Karen Ordahl Kupperman corrects the record by placing the settlement into its proper context as one among a number of early modern English ventures. Happy Four Hundredth Birthday, Jamestown: you now have the history you have always deserved.
Peter C. Mancall, author, Hakluyt's Promise: An Elizabethan's Obsession for an English America

John Murrin

The Jamestown Project is the culmination of nearly everything that Karen Kupperman has written in the last three decades. She makes a compelling case that early Virginia, despite its false starts and appalling mortality, taught the English what successful colonization required. A rare combination of exhaustive research, original ideas, and graceful writing.
John Murrin, Princeton University

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The Jamestown Project 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ShieldmaidenOfRohan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Despite the title, Kupperman's book focuses on much more than simply the settlement at Jamestown. Arguable it's two books in one: the first six chapters focus on English reasons for and experiences in colonization (compared to their European counterparts) while the last chapters give an account of English colonization of Jamestown. Extensively researched and with many interesting examples of early English exploration, the book can be enjoyable and informative when viewed in duality.