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Author Topic: American History  (Read 29340 times)
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weezo
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« Reply #105 on: May 10, 2007, 05:16:34 PM »

Never underestimate the value of a good story. Adventure and a touch of romance will outlive boring details any day. Never mind, the story is really about a pre-pubescent child, it becomes romantic because she becomes a heroine - someone that children can identify with.

I just got a CD entitled Jamestown Jubilee. It contains the music of the celebrations of Jamestown of 1807, 1907 and 2007, including a delightful piece written by a friend, Randy Cabell entitled "The Trumpeter of Jamestowne" which music was inspired by the discovery at Jamestown of the mouthpiece of a trumpet in 2004 - the first evidence that Jamestown had its own musicians and that trumpets were in use by the colonists. Other titles include "March of the Powhatan Guards", Glory of Jamestown, Jamestown Rag, Powhatan's Daughter (included as background on my story of Jamestown and Pocahontas), and many other selections both period and modern. The music is performed by the Lehigh University students, and the CD is quite inexpensive. You can find it on Amazon, or order it directly from Randy if you want a quantity discount.



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Bob
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« Reply #106 on: May 10, 2007, 05:29:00 PM »

  ".....Savage Kingdom is the book reviewed at the site I linked to above.  Please let us know if it perpetuates the Pocahontas rescue myth or if the reviewer didn't read carefully...as I sometimes suspect--ever read a review of a book and wonder how the reviewer ever came to such conclusions, or get suspicious that the book wasn't read in its entirety?....."


I haven't read the review you cite, but you bring up an interesting point. You asssume the event is a myth. Quite frankly, Rountree is the ony author I've ever read who contends it is a total myth.  David Price, in LOVE AND HATE IN JAMESTOWN, insists the events were exactly as recounted by Smith. Daniel Richter, in FACING EAST FROM INDIAN COUNTRY contends for the religious ceremonial theory involving rebirth. Geach, in his POWHATTAN'S WORLD AND  COLONIAL VIRGINIA supports Richter's view. Benjamin Woolley, in SAVAGE KINGDOM  does an interesting thing. He avoids the question totally, choosing to begin his Chapter Nine with a 13 page excerpt from Smith's TRUE RELATIONS. After the excerpt he comments not. Almost all of Wolley's book is and exposition of events with little or no analysis of events or characters. It is narrative history and is very well written. I'm enjoying it--its a good supplement to Rountree.

My point is that  the validity of the so called rescue story is still controversial. Reputable historians differ in their interpretation of the events. Rountree dismisses them entirely as myth. While Smith was good teller of tall stories at time, most of the time he told the truth.

I like David Price's conclusion:

   "Overall, there is no compelling reason to believe that the events in Powhattan's assembly hall were anything other than what Smith  perceived them to be. There is even less reason to doubt  that Pocahontas was just  who she appeared to be that day: a girl acting compassionately toward a pitiable stranger in front of her."  (Price, LOVE AND HATE, page 245).This after a four page analysis of the event and theories surrounding it.
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Bob
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« Reply #107 on: May 10, 2007, 05:37:49 PM »

Playa....I've not read much of   Lerone Bennett Jr  but I have read of how controversial some of his views are. He created a stir a while back with his FORCED INTO GLORY whereion he  charged that Lincoln was a racist. I don't have a copy of BEFORE THE MAYFLOWER, so I can't coment on it. I've always wanted to read it but never got around to ordering a copy.
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« Reply #108 on: May 10, 2007, 06:01:44 PM »

OH, I forgot to include a very interesting book on the subject of the Pocahontas. It takes a modified view of the "rescue" holding the classic story as untrue, but not quite dimissing the event as a total myth.  The book  is POCAHONTAS AND THE POWHATAN DILLEMA by Camilla Townsend. At one point she suggests that the heroine was more than likely washing the dishes when the events happened. I found her book as good as LOVE AND HATE...
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Bob
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« Reply #109 on: May 10, 2007, 06:03:53 PM »

nytempsperdu.....can you link me to the review you read....I can't find it. Was it in the New York Review of Books?...I have that one.
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caclark
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« Reply #110 on: May 10, 2007, 06:15:44 PM »

myth: ".... 2. A real or fictional story, recurring theme, or character type that appeals to the consciousness of a people by embodying its cultural ideals or by giving expression to deep, commonly felt emotions...." (American Heritage Dictionary)

The mere characterization of a purported historical event as a myth is enough to trigger a heated argument, because in its popular usage, myth is a fiction, an invention, an outright fabrication. That's not how I meant it in the context of my last few posts. I used the term to mean the popular belief that has come down to us of the event itself as we understand it to have happened and what it more deeply signifies.


« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 06:53:47 PM by caclark » Logged
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« Reply #111 on: May 10, 2007, 06:27:32 PM »

Here is a link to the NYT review of Nathaniel Philbrick's Mayflower (June 2006). I understand that it is now out in paperback.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/04/books/review/04shorto.html?n=Top%2fFeatures%2fBooks%2fBook%20Reviews
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Bob
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« Reply #112 on: May 10, 2007, 08:22:09 PM »

Interesting definition of myth. Thanks.

But regardless of how one defines myth, the controversy over the event, or alleged event (however one chooses to believe) is persistent. As you can see,  legitimate historians disagree on not only what happened, but its significane, both to us and to the original participants. The disagreements don't turn on whether its a myth or not, they turn on what the event was, whether it  even occurred and its significance.

I read MAYFLOWER a while back and its really, really good. Well worth reading!!!
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« Reply #113 on: May 10, 2007, 09:20:04 PM »

 Playa's note on the book Before The Mayflower is correct. This is a book I read in college many moons ago and is a very fitting reading for any American history student. Myths die hard but such truth as you find in that book is ever timeless.
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Dzimas
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« Reply #114 on: May 11, 2007, 12:33:46 AM »

A good example of a myth is that Abner Doubleday invented baseball at Cooperstown.  One that even Bud Selig still maintains, despite the overwhelming evidence that the game originated in New York.  I believe it was Spaulding who created this myth because he felt it would sell more baseballs.
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caclark
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« Reply #115 on: May 11, 2007, 12:29:59 PM »

dzimas on May 11, 2007 at 12:33 AM: “A good example of a myth is that Abner Doubleday invented baseball ….. I believe it was Spaulding who created this myth because he felt it would sell more baseballs."

That's a new one on me. I recall reading that Doubleday erroneously got the distinction due to sloppy research on the part of a publicist who had been hired by National League owners to ascertain who invented baseball.

No one person invented baseball, of course. It was a popular game whose so-called ‘invention’ was its being formalized with the writing of a rule book in the mid-19th century. Apparently there were many such baseball rule books written during that period, one of which just happened to be written by Abner Doubleday of Cooperstown, not the Abner Doubleday of Civil War fame who got the undeserved credit and who was also from Cooperstown, but a cousin of his of the same name. That might explain the origin of a gaffe that may have been not so much a willful deception as it was an honest misunderstanding.

Now how did Betsy Ross invent that flag?
« Last Edit: May 11, 2007, 01:17:34 PM by caclark » Logged
weezo
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« Reply #116 on: May 11, 2007, 01:09:38 PM »

For those who want to read a true account of the creation of the First American Flag, go to:

http://www.educationalsynthesis.org/books/History/Flag.html

Be sure to insert your own name and gender before you see the story.

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Dzimas
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« Reply #117 on: May 11, 2007, 03:00:28 PM »

Spaulding thought that by pegging a Civil War hero as the inventor of baseball it would boost sales, which it did.  I guess you can credit Spaulding for being the first to successfully market a sport in America.  Nothing noble about it, but I suppose it appealled to Americans' sense of grandeur.
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Dzimas
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« Reply #118 on: May 11, 2007, 03:06:40 PM »

All this talk about the Pocahontas myth is tempting me into buying the Library of America collection of Smith's writing, although I imagine much is available on line.  I find this article on the subject, which may have already been linked:

http://vision.stanford.edu/~birch/pocahontas.html

which I found on this site:

http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/amlit/smith.htm

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weezo
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« Reply #119 on: May 11, 2007, 03:41:54 PM »

Dzimas,

I read the first article you listed and found it less than convincing. It is an argument of pretty word with no substance. The author states that it could have been a "ritual" because such a ritual was recorded by Spaniards among the Seminole Indians. The author of the article assumes that because in some Indian nations, a stone was brought to bash out brains, that this was the custom in Tsenecomoco. Not only is there a dearth of large block in Gloucester County, in other accounts of bashing in brains recorded by other colonists (according to the Jamestown Narratives - an edited collection of the writings of the principals), does not include the use of a large stone at all.

I truly wonder if the writer of that article ever set food in Tsenecomoco, or if he did all his "research" sitting in his cluttered office in New England? First historian in 100 years to study the issue? Bah Humbug!
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