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Commonwealth Books of Virginia Will Publish "Pocahontas and Sacagawea: Interwoven Legacies In American History" by Cyndi Spindell Berck August 21 2014

Commonwealth Books of Virginia will publish Cyndi Spindell Berck's historical narrative "Pocahontas and Sacagawea: Interwoven Legacies In American History". As a small press, the organization aims to create three dimensional histories. Mrs. Berck's forthcoming book is a fine example of Commonwealth's motto- “Where History, Philosophy, and Art Meet”.

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. We also meet 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.

Mrs. Berck’s book adds an important new dimension to the story of western migration and the European settlement of America. “This lively and informative study looks at key moments in American history from a very fresh angle,” commented Joyce Appleby, Professor Emerita of History, University of California, Los Angeles.

"The nation-building set in motion in Jamestown, and accelerated by Lewis and Clark, led to terrible consequences for American Indians,” Mrs. Berck observed in a recent interview. “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."

To order a copy of "Pocahontas and Sacagawea: Interwoven Legacies In American History" prior to printing, click here.

Cyndi Spindell Berck received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles and Master of Public Policy and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the founder of International Academic Editorial Services of Berkeley California. “I enjoy my editorial work,” said Mrs. Berck, “but history is my intellectual true love.” While researching her forthcoming book, Pocahontas and Sacagawea: Interwoven Legacies in American History, she canoed up the Missouri, walked along the silent ruts of the Oregon Trail, gazed over the Cumberland Gap, and visited the Jamestown settlement. She found inspiration in the hope that she could support those struggling for coexistence today by remembering the remarkable accomplishments of these extraordinary women. Mrs. Berck was born in New York, grew up in Los Angeles, and now lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband, Peter, and their younger son, Joe.


Solving a Mystery in American History November 22 2013

When Thomas Jefferson authored the Declaration of Independence, he chose to open the document with an explanation. He wrote that revolution was justified by a Law of Nature that demanded governments provide for certain rights or cease to exist. Therefore, King George, who had violated these rights over and over, was no longer fit to govern them.

This thought was actually first introduced into American history by another Declaration committee member, John Adams. In 1774, Adams represented Massachusetts to the First Continental Congress. At the Congress, he lobbied—unsuccessfully—for the acceptance of a Natural Law as a colonial right. He and his supporters knew that the adoption of such a principle would pave the way for revolution. Joseph Galloway of Pennsylvania and his supporters argued vociferously against it because they too knew the outcome.

In The Dubious Achievement of the First Continental Congress, a groundbreaking book by our book publisher, James Thompson, the devious arrangement that resulted in Adam's Natural Law's inclusion into the minutes of the meeting is revealed. Charles Thomson, Secretary of the Congress and devoted Patriot, inserted the suggestion into the minutes after the meeting had already adjourned. Thomson fought with other representatives over accusations of similar behavior, but this devious act would have far reaching consequences two years later.