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Captain John Smith, Adventurer (Paperback)

Piracy, Pocahontas and Jamestown

Explorers & Adventurers P&S History Biographies

By R. E. Pritchard
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 216
ISBN: 9781399001533
Published: 29th July 2021

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Captain John Smith is best remembered for his association with Pocahontas, but this was only a small part of an extraordinary life filled with danger and adventure. As a soldier, he fought the Turks in Eastern Europe, where he beheaded three Turkish adversaries in duels. He was sold into slavery, then murdered his master to escape. He sailed under a pirate flag, was shipwrecked and marched to the gallows to be hanged, only to be reprieved at the eleventh hour. All this before he was thirty years old.

He was one of the founders of the English settlement at Jamestown, where he faced considerable danger from the natives as well as from within the faction-ridden settlement itself. In fact, were it not for Smith’s leadership, the Jamestown colony would surely have failed. Yet Smith was a far more ambitious explorer and soldier of fortune than these tales suggest. This swashbuckling Elizabethan adventurer was resourceful, intelligent and outspoken, with a vision of what America could become. In this riveting book, R.E. Pritchard tells the rip-roaring story of a remarkable man who refused to give in.

There are so many myths surrounding John Smith - and if you have ever watched the Disney movie, Pocahontas, then you know there there are several that have been expounded even further.
John Smith might have been an enigma in his time, but he did not fall in love with Pocahontas (she would have been around 11 at the time). He did, however, lead a very full and active life. There are not many who could have accomplished what he did, but he had the tenacity and the drive to push limits and build onto something greater.

The author pulled quite a bit from the writings of John Smith himself, which not only gives an insight into how his mind and thought processes worked, but also gives an unbiased (relatively) look into the life and adventures that he undertook.

I loved reading through this book! It is one that I plan to add to my reading list for my college students - it would be the perfect material for a book review assignment!

NetGalley, Rebecca Hill

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

John Smith has a story worth telling. First the scope of his deeds is explained with a historical leaning which makes the reader understand what had gone on in the past to bring about the conditions he was experiencing. As someone who has ties to the colony in Virginia I felt it important to read this excellent and superbly written book. Some of my favorite reading was the descriptions of the wars in Europe that sent the people west in droves. I never knew why so many people left Europe for North America , but I do now. Next the people and the cultures Smith met in the Americas is told in a way that is honest to both sides IMO. This mans story is awesome in its sequence and its importance to history. Even modern history has been affected by these events. Pritchard has written a readable and interesting account of the past. Excellent!

NetGalley, Patrick Carmen

I am not an expert on Smith or on early American History, but that is not necessary to enjoy this book. It is a good book for people interested in learning more about Smith and the early history of Jamestown, for amateur historians, and for those keen on researching the period (like writers of historical fiction) and obtaining good background information without having to read all the original accounts. I gained a good insight into the early years of Jamestown, and I think I got to know Smith much better than before. A no-frills account of a fascinating man and his historical period. Highly recommended.

Read the full review here

Author Translator

This book descrtibes the lilfe of the extraordinary adventurer, John Smith, whose Indian bride Pocohontas is commemorated in the church in the North Norfolk village of Burnham Market, close to whereb I live. Fascinating, larger than life, even. You couldn't make it up!

Books Monthly

About R. E. Pritchard

Born in India, R.E. Pritchard read English at Balliol College, Oxford, before becoming a lecturer at Keele University. He has published widely on a range of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century subjects, from Shakespeare’s England to the adventurer Captain John Smith, the witty poet Rochester and the court of Charles II. He lives in West Oxfordshire.

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