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Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New Nation

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  533 ratings  ·  53 reviews
A New York Times Notable Book and aSan Jose Mercury News Top 20 Nonfiction Book of 2003In 1606, approximately 105 British colonists sailed to America, seeking gold and a trade route to the Pacific. Instead, they found disease, hunger, and hostile natives. Ill prepared for such hardship, the men responded with incompetence and infighting; only the leadership of Captain John ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 4th 2005 by Vintage (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,109)
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Chris Aylott
Picked this up because I liked The Pixar Touch, and this one is just as good. Price tells the early years of the Jamestown colony with vigor and a sly sense of humor.

The surprise of the book is John Smith, who is a total action hero. He escapes Turkish slavery by beating the slave master to death with a threshing bat, turns an Indian ambush into an opportunity to negotiate at gunpoint, wins the compassion (if not the heart) of the princess, and keeps the colony alive with a mixture of hard-nosed
...more
Shauna
This book fascinated me. I'd never really taken any interest in the story of Pocahontas or John Smith or the Jamestown colony. Price sets the stage of how the colonizing process started (business investments), and how John Smith came to play such a crucial role in it. It's a shame that Americans don't revere Smith more for what he did in laying down roots in the new country. What I really liked is that Price had plenty of facts and figures, but he took great pains to make his writing un-academic ...more
Heather
Mar 15, 2008 Heather rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in Colonial American history
This was a BOMC Main Selection that was sent to me automatically because I forgot to return my card. When it arrived, I decided to keep it because it looked interesting and because this is a period of American history I know little about. The book chronicles the founding and settlement of the Jamestown colony, with special emphasis on John Smith's role. A good deal of time is also spent on Pocahontas. The writing is very fluid and easy to follow. The story itself is also amazing to consider - th ...more
Jason
This was a "tourist" book purchase. Meaning, I sometimes like to buy a book about the place I am visiting. This summer, my wife's parents were in town, and we were heading down to the Williamsburg area. We had all been to Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens and the usual attractions in the are. However, it had been many years since I had been to Jamestown. Confusingly, a visit to Jamestown could involve different entities. The Jamestown Settlement, our initial destination, is a recreation built ...more
Ollie
Dec 24, 2009 Ollie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Americans or anyone interested in history
Apart from being the first Native American to be converted to Christianity in English America, Pocahontas, this book seems to imply, was also a proto-feminist and celebrity. As a young girl, and the Powhatan Chief's favourite daughter, she saved John Smith's life by interceding with her father when he was captured during one of his many expeditions to trade for the founding colony Jamestown. Unlike other women from her tribe, she chose her destiny and went, sometimes, against her own people if i ...more
Allen Price
How could I not like a book written by another Price?!!! This book held a double whammy for me since my earliest American ancestor arrived in Jamestown in1610 and endured all the travails of this book. This time told with more personal interaction and cunning than the usual history book. Truly, America was not "meant to be" as the book posits. It simply survived to reap the fantastic bounty of the land. In addition, both native and landed peoples knew how to deceive and slaughter given enough pr ...more
Bonnie
Considering this book was little more than a text book without the illustrations and quizzes at the end of every chapter, I was impressed with the way it was presented. I must have zoned out during history class (which was - yikes - 20 years ago? maybe I just forgot it) but I always thought of the beginning of America as the story of Thanksgiving.
Even if the stories were exaggerated, John Smith was a badass. I'm a raging Democrat/borderline Socialist and even I cheered for him when he said "He
...more
Suzanne
I can't stop talking about this book. It's rare for me to read non-fiction, but I thought this treatment of John Smith and Pocahontas was utterly fascinating. It's a bit academic-ese-ish in parts (but I like that), but it completely changed how I think about American history. Highly recommended.
The Thousander Club
Adam C. Zern shares his thoughts . . .

love and hate in jamestown"Last year I went on a family vacation to Virginia. We stayed in an antebellum home overlooking the James River. As part of our trip, we visited the historical site of Jamestown, which was truly a pleasure since I have such an interest in America history. I wandered around the gift shop of the Jamestown museum and one book in particular—Love & Hate in Jamestown—caught my eye. Recognizing my own ignorance of much of the details
...more
Kressel Housman
Forget the Disney version! This book will give you the real deal on Pocahontas and Captain John Smith, and there wasn’t anything romantic about it. She really did save his life on at least two occasions, and they did develop a special friendship, but that was all. She was much younger than he. Their importance was as leaders. She was a princess with a sympathetic heart and an attraction to English ways. He was a commoner who rose to power in Jamestown on the merit of his pragmatic leadership, wh ...more
Judy
The story of Jamestown from its founding until its charter was revoked in 1624 is, at its heart, an adventure story. A small group of ill-prepared men sailed from England seeking gold and silver and looking for a new trade route to the Orient. Instead, they found a hostile environment, unwelcoming inhabitants, disease, and hunger. Not properly prepared to deal with the these circumstances, they resorted to infighting and disorganization until Captain John Smith stepped in and took control. Price ...more
David R.
Price provides a refreshing new take on the oft-covered Jamestown colonial outpost (ca. 1606-1631), focusing on Captain John Smith. Previous narratives typically characterize Smith as a bombastic, authoritarian self-promoter but herein Smith is given new life as an astute observer, competent executive, and business minded promoter. To be sure, Smith had his faults, one being an amazing ability to antagonize just about everyone. But more than anyone involved in the Jamestown "project", Smith unde ...more
Niffer
An interesting perspective on the settlement of Jamestown. There were lots of interesting facts about the initial settlement, the problems faced, and the methods of dealing with the problems. The author was definitely sympathetic towards John Smith, which does lead me to wonder what might have been left out that was less than positive about him.

Also, the title "Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas and the Heart of a New Nation" implies that John Smith and Pocahontas are central cha
...more
Holly
I enjoyed learning about the first settlement in our country. The Disney film, which my kids watched about 1000 times when they were little, actually had some things correct: John Smith was the hero, Ratcliffe was, well, a rat, the colonists had gold fever. Of course, they had a few things wrong: Pocohantas didn't have a Barbie figure (she was 11 at the time) and there was no romantic involvement with John Smith. I was fascinated by the size of one of the ships: the length of 3 parking spaces an ...more
Kim
So, every once in a while, I get on a history kick spurred by a movie. As I re-watched Disney's "Pocahontas" (one of my favorites, if not my favorite), I was like, "Wow, I don't remember a lot about Jamestown. TO THE LIBRARY!"

This book was highly readable - and condensed a lot of political faction bickering into a streamlined series of mishaps. For me, the best thing about it was the in-depth coverage of not only John Smith, Pocahontas, but a nod to beginnings of slavery. Pocahontas steps from
...more
Clare
Aug 18, 2014 Clare added it
I had to read this for summer reading....
It wasn't fun
Though, it was impressive how the author got all of the information, I suppose.
Jennifer
I enjoyed this book. If you're interested in the early American history, this is a good read. It is about the English attempting to establish a hold in America. The story is mostly about John Smith and his growth as a leader in America. After reading this, it is a shame that he isn't celebrated more as THE founder! He was ahead of his time and thus looked upon as an eccentric and not able to get along with others because he lacked diplomacy and told it like it was. Good read!
Phyllis
Short but dense history of the Jamestown Colony.
Emily
Really fascinating look at Pocahontas and John Smith. I found it really helpful when teaching my kids about stories/perspectives from Jamestown that we don't usually hear. I thought his take on whether Pocahontas actually saved Smith's life was particularly interesting. Many historians believe that his life was never in danger; that it was all part of a ritual to welcome him to the tribe. Price provides compelling evidence to the contrary.
Erin
H randomly selected a children's book from the library about Pocahontas, and the story left me wanting to read more... She married some white guy after being kidnapped? She died in London? She had a kid? For someone whose memory was split between junior high textbooks and a children's book in the library, this was a fantastic introduction to John Smith, Pocahontas and the English attempts at colonization.
Lucky
I started this yesterday and finished it today. Native Americans have been a big topic of interest of mine lately, so this is pretty close to the beginning. The story is well told here and tries to be as accurate as possible. I've seen the National Geographic special on Jamestown before, but I'm glad I read this. It helped overpower the images of corny reenactments in my head.
Cherie
This was an excellent "telling of the tale" of the Jamestown settlement. The author got into great detail about the historical "characters".The book got into detail what life was like for the settlers and the relationships between the Indian community, the settlers & the King. It read like a novel and I found to be quite good.
Nikki
This was an awesome read. I can't believe I let it sit on my shelf for six years before reading. Thank goodness for book clubs.

My favorite part of the book was the way the author tied a narrative storytelling into the primary accounts of the day. Seeing america from this early perspective and with new facts was eye opening.
Jen
Aug 26, 2010 Jen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: adult
I finally finished this book! It's actually very interesting but history takes me forever to read for some reason. Virginia really had a brutal beginning. Time and again I couldn't believe the early English settlements survived. I learned so much about the Native Virginians too. Parts of this story are so tragic!
Rebecca
Well-written and historically correct. The larger-than-life characters of Pocahantas, John Smith and John Rolfe were grounded in reality as the author depicts the emotions, politics and challenges of colonizing in the Americas among the Native Americans and a far-away company and King giving the orders.
Haley
loved it! very good history on the beginnings of Jamestown.
Laura
This is the best history of Jamestown I have read, and I've read just about every history of the colony that has been written (my Masters Thesis was on Jamestown). I highly recommend it if you don't know about our earliest successful colony.
Shannon
Awesome book. Historically accurate. Full of facts that I never knew about my own county. I was facinated and pulled in by the true story of John Smith and the first colonies. A bit dry as it deals with history but highly enducational!
Laurie
I never really wanted to spend time learning this history before, but since I live in VA and this was a shortish paperback, I decided to give it a whirl. There was a lot of Jamestown hype in 2007. I learned more than I ever expected to.
Brittany
This is about John Smith wanting land that Pocahontas's father owns and I just cant explain it, it just took my breathe away cause it's a good book you have to admit and l'd deffinitly recommend this book to people who like history!
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