The Jamestown Project

The Jamestown Project

by Karen Ordahl Kupperman
Pub. Date:
Harvard University Press
Select a Purchase Option
  • purchase options

Temporarily Out of Stock Online


The Jamestown Project

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)

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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews