THE GREAT ROGUE: A Biography of Captain John Smith by Paul Lewis

THE GREAT ROGUE: A Biography of Captain John Smith

Email this review


It is only during the past fifteen years that we have begun to see Captain John Smith through eyes other than a schoolboy's. Evidence indicates that that story about Pocahontas was merely a fanciful footnote to the second edition of John's first book. He became justly celebrated for the book and for having administered the first British colony in the New World, Jamestown, while still a young man. But he was never fully rewarded for his efforts and in later books he began to spin commercially valuable exaggerations about himself; stories with a grain of fact but at times so outrageous that even his public laughed at him behind his back. This eventually led to the eclipse of his true worth in the public estimate. His mistresses were the same type over and over again: young blonde doxies from the street and so sluttish and common that he could never take them with him when he dined out. Like other famous world-adventurers of his time (when geography was the most fascinating area of human knowledge), he was consumed by ambition--but was never knighted. In his youth a mercenary soldier for the French, a Mediterranean pirate and a Turkish slave, he'd had indeed a roguish career and loved to tell about it. The present biography is not distinguished in style but is lively, swift and affectionate. Or rather, admiring.

Publisher: McKay