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Carbone, Elise. Blood on the river: James Town 1607.

CARBONE, Elise. Blood on the river: James Town 1607. Penguin, Viking. c2006, bibliog. 256p. 0-670-06060-7. $16.99. J

Carbone has drawn from journals and letters from historical archives and written them into the story of Samuel Collier, a young man who accompanied Captain John Smith to the New World. Samuel's back-story is fictional but believable, giving voice to the details of the ocean crossing, the class struggles in the colony and the first hard years of the Virginia Company colony. Through Samuel and his telling of the story, the historical characters are given personality while the descriptions of the natives and the environment help explain the possibilities that the company saw in the New World.

As a servant to Captain Smith, Samuel is able to tell the true story of Smith, Powhatan and Pocahontas. Like Smith, Samuel learns to trust the native people, to learn their language and to work sensitively with them in an attempt to maintain a fragile balance between two diverse cultures. The distrust that eventually leads to the bloodshed is not romanticized and the blame for early genocide is equally distributed between colonists and natives.

The Author's Note at the end lays out Carbone's choices of events and vocabulary. She also cites the original documents used in her research, which are quoted at the beginning of chapters. This will be a good resource for the teaching of early colonies, showing both the successes and the failures of the early Europeans as they colonized the New World. Janis Flint-Ferguson, Assoc. Prof., English, Gordon College, Wenham, MA

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.
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Title Annotation:young adult book
Author:Flint-Ferguson, Janis
Publication:Kliatt
Article Type:Book review
Date:May 1, 2006
Words:276
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