Early Americans

Early Americans

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Essays provide an accurate, and sometimes surprising view of what life was like in Colonial Americashow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 294 pages
  • 147.32 x 215.9 x 30.48mm | 430.91g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • plates
  • 0195027884
  • 9780195027884

Review Text

Taken together, these nine essays remind us of the insatiable curiosity, deep learning, and lucidity that have made Carl Bridenbaugh one of the most prolific and accessible of all American colonial historians; taken separately, however, they often seem insubstantial and inconclusive. For audacity alone, the best of the lot is Bridenbaugh's attempt to show that Opechancanough, chief of the Powhatan Indians and mastermind of the Virginia massacres of 1622 and 1644, was none other than one Don Luis, a Powhatan known to have been educated and Christianized in Spain back in the 1560s and 1570s: the identification, though far-fetched, is not unthinkable, and Bridenbaugh develops his case with appealing gusto, On the other hand, his reports on Tom Bell, a notorious 18th-century con man, on the murder of one Robert Routledge in a Virginia tavern in 1766, and on colonial baths and watering-places, while no less ingenious or engrossing, seem to take only a half-hearted interest in the larger significance of their subjects and fail to exploit their rich implications - a problem that is even more acute in the description of voluntary associations in Philadelphia before the Revolution. Where Bridenbaugh does venture more boldly into interpretation and speculation - as in one essay on the Delaware Valley in the 17th century and three essays on aspects of the Puritan colonization of New England - he offers a wealth of provocative detail, then sticks disappointingly close to orthodoxy in handling it. An ingratiating sampler for students, then, and tantalizing raw material for researchers. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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