Book Reviews of Pocahontas

Pocahontas
Pocahontas
Author: Susan Donnell
ISBN-13: 9780425136201
ISBN-10: 0425136205
Pages: 408
Rating:
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 18

3.8 stars, based on 18 ratings
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

4 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Pocahontas on + 960 more book reviews
That the woman called Pocahontas existed is undeniable. The known story, with its tragic ending (she died in England while preparing to return to America) has fascinated people for centuries. The author claims to be a direct descendant of Pocahonta, which is certainly possible, as she married John Rolfe and bore him a son.

Genealogy aside, history pretty well takes a back seat in this tome. Most historians discount the saving-John-Smith story as a legend, probably concocted by Smith himself, after the fact. A romance between them is unlikely at best, as she was originally described by him as being about 10 years old. (He later upped that estimate to twelve or thirteen -- still a bit young for epic emotions, Romeo and Juliet notwithstanding.)

Still, Donnell includes the rescue and the romance as the backbone of her book. She also insists on referring to Pocahontas as a "princess", in the European sense, and if one wants to fudge a bit, I suppose this is permissible -- she was the daughter of a major chief and may in fact have been a favorite child, but the terminology still irks.

One could grant all this reality-bending in a piece presented as a work of entertainment based on historical fact. But when Donnell has Smith survive an ambush by killing two of his attackers with a pistol, then reloading, and killing three more ***all the while holding a hostage in front of him with an arm around the other man's throat***, I pretty well checked out. Pistols of that era were single-shot, and even though Donnell points out that it was a "French wheel" pistol, they still required about a minute -- and both hands -- to reload. One questions what the hostage, let alone the bow-and-arrow-armed attackers, were doing during this reload interim.

The final blow came when Donnell describes a feast at Pocahontas' village, and lists "doe cheese" as one of the foods served. Doe cheese? My mind went galloping off into the forest, trying to visualize the process by which one could collect enough deer's milk to create cheese, and just never returned to the story.

I have no other idea what other assaults on credibility and history were made by the author, but I would assume they continued apace.

And it's too bad, really, because the historical Pocahontas remains a fascinating figure, and deserves better than this.
reviewed Pocahontas on + 132 more book reviews
The author is a direct descendant of the great lady. I found the story very interesting. What a strong, capable, proud, young woman she must have been!
reviewed Pocahontas on
Read it a while ago, but remember being impressed. Well done.
reviewed Pocahontas on + 29 more book reviews
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