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The Jamestown Project

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  137 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews

Listen to a short interview with Karen Ordahl Kupperman
Host: 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, mer

Hardcover, 392 pages
Published March 23rd 2007 by Belknap Press
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Jun 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book looks at the Jamestown settlement as it relates to what was happening in the world. If you are at all interested in world or American history, I recommend this to you. It is not a dry read through and relates stories of people and places and gives many references for further research.

Edited 19-Jun-2010:
I read this book right before Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America and liked it equally. In fact, I would highly recommend reading them togeth
Sep 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was great. It is not really a history of the Jamestown settlement- rather, it is the history of the world as the English and Indians saw it at the start of the 1600s...the world in which the Jamestown settlement came into being. Kupperman points out that Jamestown was only one of a ton of settlement and trading projects all over the world for the English. They had already tried a settlement in North Carolina which failed, they were making attempts in Guyana, on islands in the Caribbean, the ...more
Jun 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
In the beginning, the author introduces Adam and Eve and how they came to colonize Virginia. Yes, that is an exaggeration but also a good example of how Kupperman brings in wildly diverse information to support her book that is supposedly about Jamestown but really is an in-depth discourse about colonization and exploration in general in the 1500's. Maybe something historians would appreciate, but obviously I didn't!
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-non-fiction
Continuing on my pre-revolutionary America theme I enjoyed this book a lot. It actually doesn't talk that much about Jamestown until the very end but sets the European and World stage, believes and events of the early 17th century when the Ottoman Empire was strong, tolerant and more enlightened than Europe, especially England which sat on the far edge of the world. As all non-fiction suffered from a little receptiveness but not too bad.
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good background on the global landscape that influenced the various actors in the Jamestown Project. As some reviews have noted, I also expected this would be mostly about the happenings in Jamestown. I glad it wasn't! Exceptional research and using the history of other regions to convey the thinking and actions of the English financiers and settlers.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
The Jamestown Project feels like two loosely connected essays melded into one book. The deep background about matters such as European colonization ventures and Europeans who had "taken the turban" - renounced European ways and essentially taken up life in Muslim cultures - was interesting to me but would probably not be to the average person who picked up the book expecting a history of Jamestown and its founding. Approximately half the book addresses Jamestown; the other half deals with deep b ...more
Apr 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: virginia-history
Kupperman is certainly one of the greatest Colonial American researchers, and this book is quite good. The drawback for me is though the book is supposedly about Jamestown, it's mostly not.

Kupperman's work spends much time trying to lay a mental/cultural foundation in an attempt to delve into the English mind before undertaking the Jamestown Project. She does well here, but her summary attempt touches a number of tangential, nonessential factors, such as Islam. She really has to stretch facts a
Michael Wing
Feb 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Just starting this nonfiction, and is it ever thorough. Extremely well researched, broadly represented, and finely organized from the Europeans and the new Americans. I have learned several historical facts that were either confused or reversed in my past. Great stuff after only 100 pages. Finished the project this weekend and thoroughly enjoyed being offered thorough research on culture, economics, prejudices, and politics of the countries claiming our land and manipulating natives. John Smith ...more
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history, own
This is quite a book, putting Jamestown into perspective. It looks at what the English were trying to do and why, and what the Natives were looking for, as well as what the colonists were striving to accomplish.

What I thought was particularly interesting was the overall European view, offering analysis of how Jamestown and other attempted settlements fit into the English system (no gov't money!) and how they were perceived by the Spanish (a threat!).

In this day and age, it's interesting to see t
Feb 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
If you're looking for a chronological history of what happened at Jamestown in the early settlement years, this isn't the book for you. Much of it is not directly about Jamestown at all. Instead, "The Jamestown Project" describes the world in which the settlement of Jamestown occurred: England's experiences of the larger world, Native American experiences of Europeans, England's attempts at colonizing, and so on. The book helps provide context about why the Jamestown settlers acted the way they ...more
Sep 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
She really takes the long view in this book - providing a lot of historical background prior to the actual settlement of Jamestown, which really doesn't start until at least half way through the book. This was a lot of good context. Her main argument is that though the U.S. likes to look to Plymouth and the Puritans as its origins, Jamestown existed prior to this and was the model that all later settlements followed, including Plymouth. I'm not sure she gives enough evidence to back that up, but ...more
David R.
Mar 19, 2013 rated it liked it
The goal here was to demonstrate that Jamestown colony (especially 1607-19) ultimately became a success through hard lessons, and that modern perceptions that the colony was a foolish hive of gold diggers is largely incorrect. Kupperman performed a great deal of background research in preparation for writing this book, but really went over the wall. We don't even get to Jamestown until past page 200. Unfortunately, the real core of the book, as stated, is glossed over fairly quickly. Lots of edi ...more
May 03, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Matt by: Vince
good historical background of the first travels to North America. A little slow however and I am getting bogged down in the all the details. Every person who ever sailed for American is mentioned, and half of their life stories are told. I am hoping the pace picks up.
Three months later. The pace never picked up and I never picked the book up again.
Oct 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book posits that Jamestown was the first colony that shaped the way British colonialism happened from them out. I'm not sure if it's a great thesis, but there's a lot of good info in this book. It's kinda hokey at times, but probably great for intro to Early American history or something like that.
Oct 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is more about the broth that flavoured it rather than the actual dumpling. And what an interesting broth it was. I like the way she put this together. Clear writing. This took me ages to read because I didn't want to be finished.
Oct 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
every book on this subject is different
Nov 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I didn't know that I would enjoy this book as much as I did. Much more about European colonization in general than the Jamestown Colony specifically. Great read, well written. Loved it.
Jan 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Very thorough and interesting account
Jun 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Compares what was happening in Ireland at the time, importing English to settle. Likely more native American contact with Europeans than we'd been taught.
Jul 08, 2008 rated it liked it
For grad course this fall.
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Brian Davis
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Mary Burger
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Máté Czerovszki
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Oct 30, 2015
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