THE THREE WORLDS OF CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH by Philip L. Barbour

THE THREE WORLDS OF CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH

KIRKUS REVIEW

Report repeated from p. 283 when scheduled for earlier publication, as follows: This massive volume gives a detailed account of the life of Captain John Smith, now remembered more for his semi-legendary association with Pocahantas than for his real achievements. Only a brief outline of his career is here possible. Born in England in 1580 of obscure yeoman stock, Smith as a boy fought in the Netherlands and France and later went to Hungary to fight the Turks, where he was captured and sold as a slave. Escaping, he made his way back to England and in 1606 oined the 'Virginia Plantation,' sailing with the first settlers to Jamestown. Named president of the Colony, Smith, an efficient administrator if no 'gentleman,' struggled against disease, starvation, Indians and blue-bloods who hated him and refused to work. Captured by the Indians and taken to Chief Powhatan, he may or may not have been saved from death by Powhatan's daughter Pocahontas, then a child of 11. Forced out of office by his enemies, Smith returned to England, published his Description of Virginia, and in 1614 was sent to Maine with an unsuccessful whaling expedition where, an expert map maker, he surveyed and mapped the coast. He spent the rest of his life promoting colonization in New England and died in 1631. This lengthy volume, the result of years of devoted research, contains much valuable material but even John Smith is lost in its morass of uncoordinated detail and its rambling style. Historians will value it for its excellent 'Commentaries' and its bibliography.

Pub Date: Aug. 6th, 1964
Publisher: oughton Mifflin