Pocahontas and Sacagawea - Interwoven Legacies in American History

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Author: Cyndi Spindell Berck | Show Publication detailsHide Publication details

           

Paperback Edition

ISBN: 978-0-9909592-5-0

Library of Congress control number: 2014948527

Size: 6” x 9”

Pages: 260

Images/Maps: 24 (Black & White)

Release Date: 15 July 2015

Retail Price: $19.95

    "Their influence on the cross-cultural encounters between native and white ideology enabled friendships to develop across the barriers of belief. Recommended reading."
    -Goodreads.com


    So many myths surround Pocahontas and Sacagawea that the fascinating true stories are often obscured. Mysteries about their lives remain even today. For instance, did Pocahontas really save John Smith’s life? Did Sacagawea die young or live a long life? Pocahontas and Sacagawea brings the legacies of these famous women and their peoples up to the present. This rigorously researched work of nonfiction focuses on the personalities and adventures of the American west. “This book offers an original perspective on two of the best-known, least-understood women in American history,” said Landon Y. Jones, author of William Clark and the Shaping of the American West, in an advance review. Mrs. Berck weaves the stories of these two Native American heroines with those of their friends, kin, and contemporaries, tracing a slice of American migration from the first permanent English settlement in Jamestown, Virginia, across the Appalachian Mountains, through the land of the Cherokees, to St. Louis, up the Missouri River, and finally to the Pacific. “We meet John Smith, Daniel Boone, and William Clark on this journey,” said Mrs. Berck in a recent interview. “We also meet the famous mountain man James Beckwourth, who was a friend of Sacagawea’s son, and a Northern Paiute woman named Sarah Winnemucca, whose family gave its name to a town in Nevada.” “The nation-building set in motion in Jamestown, and accelerated by Lewis and Clark, led to terrible consequences for American Indians,” Mrs. Berck added. “Yet, not all of the interactions between whites and Indians were brutal. There appeared to be genuine friendships between Pocahontas and John Smith, and between Sacagawea and William Clark. These cross-cultural relationships are important to understand," the author said in closing. "I see them as hopeful alternatives to the territorial and cultural conflicts so common in our world today.”

     

    Genre Titles:

    Pocahontas and Sacagawea - The Creation of a Myth by Antje Brinckmann, 2006. This appears to be available in digital (Kindle) format only. It is based on a dissertation. The publication notes found on Amazon indicate that either the dissertation or the Kindle edition or both are published in German, and the page length is given at 51 pages. The author’s summary indicates that it is a study of myth-making. As a scholarly criticism of cultural processes, I don’t think it will be of interest to the general reader. My book, in contrast, is a tale of adventure and personalities: scrupulously accurate, yet written to hold the reader’s interest.

    Pocahontas: Medicine Woman, Spy, Entrepreneur, Diplomat by Paula Gunn Allen. Harper Collins Publishers, San Francisco, 2003. The late Dr. Allen has been called the founder of Native American studies. She was really more of a folklorist than a historian. She questioned Western notions of linear time, historical objectivity, etc. Her book is one of four sources I drew on to examine the life of Pocahontas. She has a very definite point of view that can be described as advocacy for indigenous perspectives, looking backward from the damage that colonialism inflicted on her people. For example, she (and another Indian author who provided a source for my book) argue that Pocahontas was poisoned by her husband, John Rolfe, although there is no evidence for this. My book differs in that (1) I am a Western-trained historian who seeks to determine objective facts as much as possible; (2) I incorporate both native and Western perspectives, to the best of my ability as a non-native writer; and (3) I trace Pocahontas’ legacies over four centuries, and weave her story with that of Sacagawea and others.

    Sacagawea’s Child: The Life and Times of Jean-Baptiste (Pomp) Charbonneau by Susan M. Colby. The Arthur H. Clark Company, Spokane, Washington, 2005. This is a very good book. It is well-researched and the story is told well. I drew heavily on this book in writing my own. I think the stories are complementary: a reader of one might well be interested in the other. Mine differs in the following ways: (1) my focus is not on Jean-Baptiste alone, and (2) I have a little more information on Jean-Baptiste’s San Diego (Oceanside) connection.

    William Clark and the Shaping of the American West by Landon Y. Jones, Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2004. You only asked for four titles, but I have to mention this book. It is the only biography of William Clark; I drew on it heavily for details of Sacagawea’s life after the Lewis and Clark expedition; and Landon generously reviewed my manuscript. Again, I see my book as complementary; it has a broader perspective rather than a focus on a single individual.

     

               

    Paperback Edition

    ISBN: 978-0-9909592-5-0

    Library of Congress control number: 2014948527

    Size: 6” x 9”

    Pages: 260

    Images/Maps: 24 (Black & White)

    Release Date: 15 July 2015

    Retail Price: $19.95

     

    Epub Editions

    ISBN (Ebook - Kindle): 978-0-9909592-8-1

    ISBN (Ebook - EPUB): 978-0-9904018-8-9

    ISBN (Ebook - PDF): 978-0-9904018-9-6

    Release Date: 15 July 2015

    Retail Price: Electronic: $8.95

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