A Brave and Cunning Prince

The Great Chief Opechancanough and the War for America

A Brave and Cunning Prince
James Horn
NZ$ 50.00
Our Price:
NZ$ 37.50
h236 x 158mm - 320pg
23 Dec 2021 US
International import eta 7-19 days
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Currently no stock in-store, stock is sourced to your order
In the mid-sixteenth century, Spanish explorers in the Chesapeake region kidnapped an Indian teenager and took him back to Spain, a common occurrence at the time. What was uncommon in this case was that the young man eventually came back. During his time abroad, the boy lived in Madrid, Seville, Havana, and Mexico City, becoming a favorite of King Philip II and converting to Catholicism in the process. In fact, his faith grew so strong, he said, that he felt compelled to help establish a Jesuit mission to save the souls of his people back in Virginia-but shortly after the group arrived in the New World, he abandoned his fellow missionaries, rejoined his family, and soon returned with a small band of warriors to slaughter the Europeans. In the years that followed, he became the warrior chief known as Opechancanough, and alongside his brother Wahunsonacock (father of Pocahontas), he solidified their people' s control of coastal Virginia, making the Powhatans the most powerful Indian chiefdom on the mid-Atlantic seaboard. Under their reign, the region remained free of European settlers until 1607, when English colonists arrived in Jamestown. But this was not so unbalanced an encounter as many have supposed. Because of his time among the Europeans, Opechancanough was acutely aware not only of the English settlers' technological capabilities, but also of the fierce determination with which they would pursue their invasion of his homeland. As time passed, the two chiefs sought to drive the invaders out, and mounted a series of attacks that nearly destroyed the colony at Jamestown. But the English settlers proved more resilient than the Spanish missionaries had been forty years earlier. Additional soldiers, weapons, and provisions arrived from England, forcing Opechancanough to drag his offensive on for decades. He survived to be nearly a hundred years old and died as he lived, fighting the invaders. A Brave and Cunning Prince is the first book to chronicle the life of Opechancanough, exploring his early exposure to European society and his lifelong fight to protect the integrity of his homeland. With engrossing storytelling, deep research, and surprising insights, A Brave and Cunning Prince will be vital reading for anyone seeking to understand the charged early encounters between the indigenous peoples of North America and the settlers who would bring death and destruction.
"A fascinating narrative of intrigue, shifting alliances, and betrayal. Horn' s detailed biography properly places Opechancanough in the context of history. "--Library Journal (starred review) "Horn' s story rivals any narrative -- fact or fiction -- and provides ample suspense and action to entertain the reader. . . A Brave and Cunning Prince joins the aforementioned previous Horn works in providing a complete and intriguing look at the early years of Virginia by questioning previous assumptions of other historians and providing highly detailed and well-researched accounts of these seminal events. "--Roanoke Times "Informative and engaging, A Brave and Cunning Prince challenges conventional wisdom about Pocahontas, Captain John Smith and, most important, the early encounters between the Indians and the English. And Horn reminds us that the outcome of their protracted conflict was by no means certain. "--Minneapolis Star Tribune "An accomplished work of scholarly detection. . . Swift, moving prose along a twisting storyline lends this brilliant book the feel of a mystery. " --Kirkus (starred review) "An immersive portrait. . . Early American history buffs will be riveted. "--Publishers Weekly "A Brave and Cunning Prince is brilliant, stunning, original, and un-put-downable. Horn' s gripping prose and remarkable detective skills transport the reader to the Chesapeake Bay, Madrid, Mexico City, Havana, and London and into the mind of the talented, indefatigable Powhatan chief, Opechancanough. Upending the traditional Jamestown colonization narrative, Horn centers the Powhatan people, uncovering their priorities and their perceptions of the invaders who tried to colonize their land. Horn has crafted a magnificent, important biography, essential reading for anyone who seeks to understand early America. " --Lorri Glover, Saint Louis University "Few individuals, European or Native American, had as much impact on early America as the Pamunkey leader Opechancanough. In A Brave and Cunning Prince, the renowned historian of early Virginia James Horn offers a masterclass on historical reconstruction and narrative style, deeply informed by an unparalleled mastery of evidence and sensitivity to the nuances of lived experience. Horn takes us across a century and the entire Atlantic basin, enlightening at every unexpected twist and turn. Opechancanough, a monumental figure, comes to prominence again in this true-life page-turner of narrative history. " --Peter C. Mancall, author of The Trials of Thomas Morton "James Horn combines cutting-edge scholarship with vivid, accessible prose in this sweeping narrative of Opechancanough' s eventful and eye-opening life story. " --James Rice, author of Tales from a Revolution: Bacon' s Rebellion and the Transformation of Early America "James Horn has produced the first full biography of Paquinquineo/Opechancanough, making a compelling case that these two important figures in the Indigenous history of Virginia were one and the same. This transatlantic biography will be of great value to anyone interested in the vast history of what in Horn' s hands becomes an Algonquian Atlantic. " --Michael Leroy Oberg, SUNY-Geneseo "Like most Native people in early American history, Opechancanough generally plays a brief bit part as a violent and tragic figure. In contrast, James Horn constructs a remarkable life story that spanned a century. At a time when America is digging more deeply into its origins, this eye-opening narrative challenges well-worn tales of Pocahontas and congenial first encounters with a grim record of kidnapping, starvation, and total war. " --Colin G. Calloway, author of The Indian World of George Washington "This book tells the story of one of the most fascinating figures in American history--the older brother of the more famous man we know as Powhatan. Most Americans probably have never heard of Opechancanough, but A Brave and Cunning Prince makes it clear that his name ought to ring in our mythology with the tragic names of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse of the Sioux, the Apache' s Geronimo, and the Comanche' s Quanah Parker. Opechancanough' s experiences and travels rival those of John Smith, and his leadership was demonstrably more effective. Though eclipsed in the records by both Smith and his own brother, Opechancanough might have been the most important of the three. Opechancanough' s story is long overdue, and who better to tell the tale than our generation' s foremost authority. " --Joseph Kelly, author of Marooned: Jamestown, Shipwreck, and a New History of America' s Origin
James Horn is the president of Jamestown Rediscovery. He is author and editor of eight books on colonial America, including 1619 and A Land as God Made It. He lives in Richmond, Virginia. ?

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