Land As God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America

Book Reviews | Nov 18th, 2008

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Author: James Horn
Publisher: Basic Books
Genre: History
Pages: 338
Retail Price: 0.00
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This excellent history is THE book for information on the first British colony in America, the seed from which came our country. It was not an easy development, and this book unflinchingly covers every growing pain, many self-inflicted.

It’s amazing how little I knew of my own country’s history, and this book was a fascinating eye-opener. The level of detail, the amount of original sources – it’s absolutely amazing how much information is in here, especially considering how my formal education on the topic amounted to little better than Disneyfied myths.

What’s most interesting is how close to (and passed) collapse Jamestown had been, and how stubborn corporate interests kept a small, ravaged, pitiful colony in existence until it finally, slowly became successful. But this isn’t a success story about scruffy underdogs – it’s a pure, knowledge-based account of the early days of what would become the United States.

I would say that it’s an account of the misery that very ill-equipped people went through, and the misery they inflicted on the native peoples, and the misery inflicted in return. There are no heroes here, only lots and lots of stupidity, ugliness, and brutality, that somehow future generations benefited from. But that’s my bias. This book is simply the facts, and the gripping manner in which they’re presented.

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