A founder of Jamestown in 1607, Smith's courage, determination, and leadership proved crucial to its survival. A True Relation tells of the colony's perilous first year, while The Proceedings and The Generall Historie continue the story of its struggle to survive and prosper. A Description of New England and New Englands Trials describe Smith's exploration of the northern coast and the prospects for its settlement. In The True Travels Smith recalls his adventures as a soldier in Eastern Europe and his amazing escape from Turkish slavery. Advertisements for the Unexperienced Planters, his last book, is a critical examination of the successes and failures of the English colonial enterprise. Written in a consistently lively style, Smith's works are filled with suspense, astonishment, and keen observations of American Indian cultures and New World landscapes.
The 16 additional narratives include accounts of the "Lost Colony" of Roanoke, the horrific "starving time" at Jamestown, and a shipwreck off Bermuda. Amplifying and sometimes challenging Smith's version of events, these narratives capture the fear and fascination of early encounters with the Indians; the brutality, desperation, and ingenuity of settlers facing extreme hardship; the complex interplay of feuds and rivalries, both between the English and the Powhatan Indians and within the colony itself; and the enduring story of Pocahontas, who came to occupy a unique place between two cultures. Included in the volume are 29 pages of contemporary drawings, 15 of them full-color illustrations by John White.