A Man Most Driven: Captain John Smith, Pocahontas and the Founding of America

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Oneworld Publications, Oct 14, 2014 - Biography & Autobiography - 352 pages
Named a Best Book of 2014 by The Providence Journal

"A nuanced account of the English captain saved by Pocahontas reveals an astonishingly complicated personality. Former BBC producer Firstbrook finds in the roguish, quarrelsome, fearless adventurer Capt. John Smith a sterling example of the tenacious early-American character…. Exciting historical tales with romantic overtones." - Kirkus Reviews

Everyone knows the story of Pocahontas and how she saved John Smith. And were it not for Smith’s leadership, the Jamestown Colony would surely have failed. Yet Smith was a far more ambitious explorer and soldier of fortune than these tales suggest—and a far more ambitious self-promoter, too, so reputed for his truculence that the pilgrims of the Mayflower snubbed him when he offered them his services, though his 1614 map of New England (which he named) made him the unrivaled expert on America.

Now, in the first major biography of Smith in decades, award-winning BBC filmmaker and author Peter Firstbrook traces the adventurer’s astonishing exploits across three continents, testing Smith’s claimed biography against the historical and geographical reality on the ground. A Man Most Driven delivers an enlightening dissection of this mythology-making man and the invention of America.

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User Review  - Stbalbach - LibraryThing

Prior to reading A Man Most Driven I was only vaguely aware of Captain John Smith. Having grown up in the Chesapeake Bay area I knew he was the first to explore the coast and rivers and that he played ... Read full review

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Wow! What an extraordinary leader and audacious survivalist, Captain John Smith. Schooled in The Art of War by Niccolò Machiavelli, and skilled via first-hand warfare experience in Europe and at sea, Captain John Smith is very likely the reason why Jamestown survived. His cartography skills and many publications of his New World explorations and experiences contributed to the founding of our earliest settlements and to their classless, democratic consciousness. 

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About the author (2014)

Peter Firstbrook is author of The Voyage of Matthew (about the explorer John Cabot), Lost on Everest (about George Mallory), and The Obamas: The Untold Story of an African Family. For 25 years, he worked for the BBC as a television producer, director, and executive producer specializing in historical documentaries. He has won over 30 international awards, including the Royal Television Society award for best documentary, twice. He lives in London.

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