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

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  775 Ratings  ·  78 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
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Vintage (first published 2003)
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Oct 10, 2008 Shauna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loved-it
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
Dec 16, 2009 Ollie rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Mar 15, 2008 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  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
Chris Aylott
Oct 14, 2010 Chris Aylott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Allen Price
Jan 23, 2008 Allen Price rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Philip Palios
Jun 12, 2016 Philip Palios rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I tend to fall asleep when attempting to read history books, but Price's account of early American history was written like no other history book I've read. He is able to bring the stories to life, while remaining factually correct and citing his sources. I would recommend this book to anyone curious about Jamestown as well as anyone who just enjoys a good story.
Oct 08, 2008 Suzanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grown-up-stuff
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.
Jun 22, 2015 oleeleeo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Such a fascinating book. I grabbed this in passing (was waiting to be re shelved) and am glad I did. I remember being mesmerized by the missing colonists of Roanoake, Virginia. And I remember the basics about Jamestown from history lessons in middle school. Who doesn't know about Captain John Smith and Pocohontas? Of course her fabled relationship with him was infused with more than a little creative license and romance in most accounts. In reality she was a young girl with a one way crush on an ...more
Nov 04, 2009 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jun 27, 2016 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
We all know a handful of details: 1) John Smith led the settlement at Jamestown. 2) Pocahontas saved him. 3) Most of the colonists died during "the starving time."

And then help came.

What the journalist-turned-historian David A. Price does is fill in the rest as a story in a much more interesting way than any other account I have read.

The result is a smooth, readable, well-sourced account of the first generation of colonists from England. Here is a full description of what probably happened when
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
Aug 21, 2014 Bonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 02, 2011 Niffer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
David R.
Jul 18, 2011 David R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 28, 2013 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 15, 2011 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Robert Jones
Jun 15, 2015 Robert Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first two thirds of Love and Hate in Jamestown were great: everything I want in a history book. It centered on John Smith, and explained quite admirably why he deserves a spot in the pantheon of American heroes, as he kept the struggling colony of Jamestown from utter disaster. Everything gets worse when he's replaced as governor - for him, for Jamestown, for the local natives, and for the reader. Without a central character, the narrative becomes blurry and confusing. I feel like the climax ...more
Jan 02, 2015 Janie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the more engrossing nonfiction books I've ever read, and not just because I find the subject fascinating (although I do--I really do). Price is just plain old good at writing, making historical facts come together into an actual plot, complete with climax and denouement, a la Erik Larson. I just wish some of the pictures, maps, etc referenced in the text had been included. I also find it exciting (in my super nerdy way) that Price puts forth an ethnographic-based argument that th ...more
Jul 25, 2015 Marguerite rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A readable and interesting look at Jamestown from the perspective of key, but also overlooked players. The story of the settlement, just up the river, has been glossed over and sanitized, although good history continues to come out of the place, as happened just this week. I hadn't known how vilified John Smith was, or how useless some of the original gentlemen settlers were. The careful study of relations between the settlers and natives is the best I've seen. Folks who live in this area have a ...more
Stacy Spoonster
Mar 24, 2015 Stacy Spoonster rated it really liked it
Love and hate in Jamestown

I thought this was an articulate treatment of the events that occurred in the first successful English settlement in America. The details are rich and fascinating using a lot of original source material, without being dry. My only complaint is that in several chapters Price reverses in time to explain other events that have happened and it is not always clear at first that he has gone back to an earlier date. It makes the text slightly confusing at times. I would highly
Oct 15, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-american
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
Christina Dudley
Jul 19, 2015 Christina Dudley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Fascinating and informative history of Jamestown and John Smith. I knew very little going in and author Price covers his ground with sympathy, authority and humor. It was hard not to root for local Indians, having boatload after boatload of these encroaching English show up, but I also rooted for the canny Smith, trying his best to keep the shiftless colonists (and himself!) alive. Pocahontas turned out to have neither a talking pet raccoon nor a hummingbird, but she was a compelling character n ...more
Sharon Miller
Jun 15, 2012 Sharon Miller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A tale wilder than fiction; rendered with lively prose and an organized narrative- which I am beginning to appreciate more and more as I read more and, inevitably, grow older. High adventure, piracy, shipwreck, murder, abject depravity, soaring sacrifice, damning and fatal stupidity, resourcefulness, genius, heart-breaking tragedy, sweeping cultural encounters, and romance all exist in this story, and it is a true one. This is a tale worth telling, and the author told it well. For fans of Americ ...more
Dec 02, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Chelita Lundell
Apr 12, 2016 Chelita Lundell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OH MY GOSH! The children and I were studying Jamestown and John Smith in our homeschool and I came across this book! It was so good. It is a historical book that reads like a novel! Brilliant! My understanding of Jamestown and the Era around it is so huge now. I wish that everyone could see how much was gained in lost in the journey to get where we are today. My son will be reading this in middle school for sure.
Oct 23, 2015 Miriam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
History of the founding of the Virginia Colony. Biography of John Smith and Pocahontas. "Nations define themselves in large part through their heroes, and historians found in Smith the opportunity to define the qualities of a distinctively American hero: resourceful, of humble origins and high achievement, inclined toward action rather than reflection, peaceable when possible, warlike when necessary." p. 234
Sep 13, 2010 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 28, 2015 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent book. Very straight forward and very well written. I really liked how Price inserted actual excerpts from the colonists' accounts, but also explained them very well since the colonists were terrible spellers ("salvages" instead of "savages"...yikes!). I am from the Jamestown area, so I grew up going on field trips there yet not fully grasping colonial life. This was such an interesting and dramatic book that you would almost think it to be fictional.
Aug 29, 2009 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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