Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Book Review: "1607: Jamestown and the New World"

Drawn from the pages of Colonial Williamsburg magazine, the essays that make up 1607: Jamestown and the New World (2007, Rowman & Littlefield) focus on many aspects of the early years at Jamestown and on that colony's precedence as the "first" permanent English settlement in America. There are short biographical sketches here of John Smith, Pocahontas, the first Jamestown minister, James I, and several others, well-known and otherwise. The economic plans and structures of early Jamestown are analyzed, as are widespread reports of cannibalism during the "Starving Time." Other essays examine relations between the colonists and the native peoples, the government of the colony, and the recent archaeological work that has done much to improve our knowledge of the early years.

Extensively illustrated with both contemporary images and photographs of modern reenactments, this is a nice book for browsing while offering some interesting insights into Jamestown's nascent years. It could have been improved by a list of further readings for each topic, but it remains useful and attractive that omission notwithstanding.