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In 1587, John White and 117 men, women, and children landed off the coast of North Carolina on Roanoke Island, hoping to carve a colony from fearsome wilderness. A mere month later, facing quickly diminishing supplies and a fierce native population, White sailed back to England in desperation. He persuaded the wealthy Sir Walter Raleigh, the expedition’s sponsor, to rescIn 1587, John White and 117 men, women, and children landed off the coast of North Carolina on Roanoke Island, hoping to carve a colony from fearsome wilderness. A mere month later, facing quickly diminishing supplies and a fierce native population, White sailed back to England in desperation. He persuaded the wealthy Sir Walter Raleigh, the expedition’s sponsor, to rescue the imperiled colonists, but by the time White returned with aid the colonists of Roanoke were nowhere to be found. He never saw his friends or family again.In this gripping account based on new archival material, colonial historian James Horn tells for the first time the complete story of what happened to the Roanoke colonists and their descendants. A compellingly original examination of one of the great unsolved mysteries of American history, A Kingdom Strange will be essential reading for anyone interested in our national origins....

Title : A Kingdom Strange: The Brief and Tragic History of the Lost Colony of Roanoke
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780465004850
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 296 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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A Kingdom Strange: The Brief and Tragic History of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Reviews

  • Judy
    2018-09-20 22:22

    On my recent trip to North Carolina, I took a very short time to see Roanoke Island & the National Park there. It piqued my interest in the lost colony. I chose this book from the library because it had good reviews and was a small book. It is very well documented. Two things I fault the book on is that it spends a great deal of time on English events and that the reproductions of drawings and maps of the era are useless because of the size of the book. As to the former, is does give a concise history of England of that period. I just got tired of all the wars and political wrangling. That being said, I did enjoy reading the book. Though some reviewers say it doesn't give any additional light on what happened to the settlers of Roanoke, I knew almost nothing about the colony; so it was informative to me. It is amazing that people were willing to undergo such a harrowing trip to an unknown spot and risk their life (and in the case of the settlers, that of their children). Another surprising thing to me was how the English and Spanish adventurers thought nothing of attacking each others ships and settlements and take bounty. Why worry about pirates when the nations' sea captains did the same thing. Though no one really knows what happened to the original settlers left to fend for themselves for over two years, I was glad to learn that there is some evidence that some of them survived and perhaps were integrated into the friendly native tribes. For a quick overview of the Roanoke colony, I recommend the book. Think now maybe I'll look for a novel concerning this early start of settlement of the continent.

  • Benjamin Plume
    2018-09-20 20:02

    This book was well-written, and it is a complete account of the Roanoke colony to be sure, but its jacket is a bit misleading. I don't believe that Horn truly shed any more light on the mystery of the Lost Colony than works done before his. He did bring some things together in one place in the last couple of chapters that hadn't been before, but we're still left wondering. I do recommend this book if it strikes your interest at all, but don't go into it expecting to be blown away by new revelations.

  • Michael
    2018-10-03 20:21

    Hey, you guys wanna go to a strange land and start a colony? We'll send everything you need to get you started and continually send more supplies and people to help. You can make a lot of money and be part of a new world! NAH!! Just kidding! We're gonna drop ya off and see what happens. Maybe drop by in a few years. And did I mention I'm not going with you? Yeah, I'll be staying here, but you go. Have a blast. That pretty much sums up Roanoke. Proof once again that politics has always been a corrupt business. Yup, no such thing as the "good ole days" when it comes to politics. The book was pretty good at parts. But gave a lot of info I cared nothing about as well. Not a bad read and definitely an interesting event. Sad.....yes. Maddening.....yes. But interesting none the less.

  • Harold Titus
    2018-10-01 00:03

    "A Kingdom Strange: the Brief and Tragic History of the Lost Colony of Roanoke" is a well-researched account of Sir Walter Raleigh’s failed attempts to establish an English settlement in North America. Raleigh wished to found a thriving colony to accomplish four purposes: to attack more effectively Spanish treasure ships returning to Spain from Central and South America; to keep Spanish settlement out of North America; to obtain great wealth by harvesting the land’s natural resources, in particular gold and silver; and to discover an easy passage to the Pacific Ocean and the trade-rich orient.Historian James Horn takes us methodically through the separate voyages to North Carolina’s Outer Banks and Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds beginning with the exploratory voyage of Arthur Barlowe and Philip Amadas in 1584 and ending with John White’s tragic attempt in 1590 to re-connect with the settlement he as governor had been forced to leave three years earlier to address in London the settlement’s need for relocation and its shortage of food and supplies.Horn introduces us to the local Native American culture. He narrates effectively the arrogance and brutality of Captain Richard Grenville and Governor Ralph Lane and the eventual recognition by tribal leaders that these foreigners and their men are not gods nor allies but avaricious enemies. We see the measures taken by the Secotan Indians to rid themselves of these Englishmen, and we witness Governor Lane’s vicious retaliation. We feel artist-turned-idealistic governor John White’s frustration and anguish as he attempts to plant a new colony after Lane and his soldiers return to England. We recognize White’s need to return to London to arrange for additional settlers and supplies to be transported to Roanoke to enable the settlement to move to a safer geographic location. We learn why three years elapse before he is able to return. We see the little evidence he finds that leads him to believe where the people of his abandoned village have relocated. We feel his despair as he is prevented the opportunity to verify his supposition. We then judge the validity of the author’s theory of the fate of White’s “lost” colony.Immediately after I retired from teaching, I researched this subject matter and wrote a brief YA manuscript that if copied future Orinda, CA eighth grade students could have read. Horn’s narration, published years afterward (2010), has provided me tidbits of information I didn’t known. (Example: Walter Raleigh’s promotional efforts, planning, and preparatory actions that preceded each voyage) Horn’s footnotes offered me additional information. His timeline of events that affected discovery and colonization in America from 1492 to 1701 is also useful.If I choose to write a full-length novel about the clash of English explorers and settlers and Native Americans at Roanoke, James Horn’s book will serve as an important secondary source. Concise yet detailed, quite readable, it would benefit any reader seeking to learn about the origins of our country’s past.

  • Samantha
    2018-10-06 01:30

    I initially thought this book was a novel. And since the story of the Roanoke colony has always intrigued me, I thought it would be a fun read.Of course, I was wrong. About the novel part, not the fun part.Turns out, it's a non-fiction account of the first English colonies in North America. And after realizing my mistake and embracing the book for what it was, I really enjoyed it.Originally started as part of a two-part vision - one, to be a home base for English privateers feasting off Spanish ships and two, to exploit the riches of the continent and discover a passage to the Pacific Ocean, thereby establishing England as a legitimate world power - the first colonies nevertheless failed to live up to their promise. Surrounded by native tribes - some tentative allies, some not - and a wild land they were unfamiliar with, the colonists struggled to survive. One attempt at widespread colonization after another failed.The Roanoke Colony officially began in 1587, with the blessing of Queen Elizabeth I and the backing of Sir Walter Ralegh. After establishing themselves on Roanoke Island, with plans to move somewhere on the Chesapeake Bay as soon as possible, they were left to fend for themselves with promises that reinforcements in the form of people and supplies would be forthcoming from England.Years passed. Priorities changed. Sir Walter Ralegh, the champion of English colonization, fell out of favor with the queen. War with Spain began. Very few were left who had any interest in that part of America where the colonists were left behind, since very little in terms of riches had been discovered. The first attempt to reach the colonies failed. And when another voyage was finally put together three years later - this time culminating in a successful landing at Roanoke - no traces of the colonists were found, the only clue the word "Croatoan" carved into a tree. To this day, the fate of the colonists is unknown.The majority of the book deals with the history of English colonization in America and the trials and tribulations of the earliest settlers. The very last section deals with the speculation of the fate of the lost colonists. Based on the scant evidence available, it seems likely that while many of the colonists died, either from illness or attack, some of them survived, integrating into native societies. No hard proof exists to support this, of course, which is what makes Roanoke's Lost Colony one of history's most enduring mysteries.All in all, an interesting read. Obviously, starting from scratch in a foreign land is a daunting task, made even more arduous by the greed and ambition of men like Sir Walter Ralegh who, instead of focusing on reinforcing the colonists who were already there, decided to embarrass himself with an ill-fated exploration of Peru and the search for the mythical city of El Dorado. It seems the search for immeasurable fortune knows no limit.I really would like to read a novel about the Roanoke Colony, though.

  • Sue
    2018-09-23 00:08

    I've been fascinated with the mysterious disappearance of the colonists on Roanoke Island ever since 5th grade, when I slipped a biography of Virginia Dare off the shelf next to me and read it instead of attending to the excruciatingly boring English grammar lesson in progress. (And thank you, Mrs. Schornhorst, for letting me do this, as I'm sure you knew I had this book hidden inside my larger English grammar text.) What did happen to Virginia Dare and all the other hapless colonists abandoned to fate in a trackless wilderness?James Horn does a creditable job of taking the bits and pieces of what is known, including obscure accounts of Native American oral history, and coming up with a plausible answer to this question. Though his account is not gripping historical writing, it is well-researched and his conclusion sensible. His discourse also leaves one with a less judgmental attitude about John White, who rather than callously abandoning his friends and family to a difficult (and probably tragic) ending, did try to return to them but was thwarted at every turn by both the political realities of the time and the weather.Though I wouldn't recommend this to the reader with only a casual interest in history, I do think those with a particular interest in North American colonial history will find it interesting. (And who doesn't like the answer to a good unsolved historical mystery, anyway?) As for that long-ago children's biography of Virginia Dare, which was, of necessity, wholly fabricated? Turns out having her grow up with the Indians might not have been far off the mark.

  • Phil Ford
    2018-10-10 18:07

    Probably one of the more approachable books on the subject of the Lost Colony. A colony doomed from the outset, not only due to the elements of the New World, but also because of the whimsical politics of England at the time. Horn does a decent job of setting the political and sociological stage of the late 16th century and the players involved; the relationship of Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth, John White and his struggle against whim and bureaucracy to put together a rescue voyage in the middle of countries at war; the war between England and Spain; Captain John Smith's claimed attempts to find out what happened to the people of Roanoke Island. Still though, despite all the claimed evidence by people like Smith (who was a notorious bragger in his memoirs), you have to wonder if some of the witness testimony claimed by Europeans are valid or just generating Tall Tales for the history books. Ultimately there is no real solid evidence (so far) of what exactly happened (Horn speculates the whole dang mystery in the last 5 or six pages), and anyone who knows the story already will not find much revelation here, although it IS a good book that puts it all in one place in an approachable narrative. A decent read, but I would really like to see a more archeological book be published on the subject, much like Dr. William Kelso's book Jamestown: the Buried Truth.

  • ☯Emily
    2018-10-03 00:19

    This book is about the lost English colony at Roanoke. James Horn gives the historic background for the establishment of the colony, emphasizing the role Walter Ralegh played in its beginning. It was to be a base for the English to attack Spanish ships as they crossed the Atlantic from South America. The settlers were to provide needed raw goods to England and in their spare time look for gold and silver and a passage to the Pacific. They were dropped off, began to settle on the land and waited for much needed food and supplies. However, these never arrived because the Spanish decided it was time to invade England. After the Spanish Armada was destroyed, there were a series of mishaps that prevented any ships to arrive at the small colony. The last chapter deals with several theories of what happened to the English settlers. I found the book to have lots of speculation and not solid facts, but again there are not a lot of facts to go on...that is why it is one of America's mysteries.

  • Dawn King
    2018-09-27 01:07

    Theories about the fate of North Carolina's Lost Colony can be deary or fascinating. Many just dredge up old stories. This book makes a compelling case for sabotage and intrigue within Queen Elizabeth's court. Sir Walter Raleigh's political enemies may have planted a saboteur to make sure the colony did not land well and got off to a poor start. This book was well written and researched. It is in my library on NC history.

  • Eve
    2018-09-25 02:25

    Although it doesn't really shed light on the Roanoke mystery, it us a fascinating account of planting America.

  • Chrissy
    2018-10-10 19:14

    Having just finished the wonderful Horwitz book (A Voyage Long and Strange...Early America), I was ready to immerse myself in this era. Unfortunately, this book was too full of irrelevant detail, side notes, "maybe"s, "perhaps" and "probably"s. It was more geography and European history than I expected or wanted. There were also at least 2 typos- the month and year are squished together at least twice. One of these is on page 195 of the pb edition. Disappointing read, in my opinion.

  • William
    2018-10-04 00:13

    This book was really dry. It wasn't necessarily bad, but it was incredibly boring and I'm rating it low due to the circumstances. I read this for an English class, but this is literally a history book??? I thought there were too many people and names to keep up with, and I don't remember a lot of what I read. I skimmed through some of it and I flat-out just didn't read the last 30.

  • Terry
    2018-09-23 21:19

    This book was just a random pull from the New Books shelves in my local library, and I LOVED it. It reminded me of a children's book I read about the lost colony of Roanoke which I wish I could find again. I still (thirty years later) remember the image of the empty buildings and the name of another location carved into a tree trunk, as if left behind for the too-late rescuers, along with the chilling detail that the word is not finished, as if whoever was carving it was interrupted (and not in a good way). Anyway. First of all this book really humanizes the people involved in the early colonies of North America. I really felt like these were real people, with real dreams and real personalities and real flaws. Thus, I was especially touched by their downfalls. Second, this book also showed me that American school children are really taught (in the elementary schools) enormous misinformation! We all grow up thinking "Oh, some Pilgrims came to America for religious freedom and sometimes they got along with the savage Indians and sometimes they didn't, but they won out in the end, the end." Not even CLOSE to accurate. It's all about the money, honey. I was bemused and touched, even, by the excitement the explorers and colonists felt about the possibility that there were giant mines filled with silver and rubies (really) just past the Appalachain mountains. I was also bemused by the way early explorers planned things--they took enough supplies to set up camp, so to speak, but if they were running low, well, they'd just sail to the Carribean islands and steal stuff from the Spanish. Okay! Sounds like a plan! And of course let's not forget how Native American history is treated in schools. Of course who wants to learn about genocide committed by ACTUAL WHITE PEOPLE from England? Gasp. I mean, the history is taught as if North America was almost completely empty except for a few random Native Americans, so it was okay for Europeans to just "conquer" North America, seeing as how it's empty, and all. I know this isn't new information to adults, but still, I was still taken aback to realize how, you know, white-washed colonial history is. At any rate, this book is small and quite a quick read, but I just found it fascinating and entertaining in the best sense of the word. One tiny caveat--the author has written a number of books geared toward elementary and middle-school-aged children, and sometimes he kind of dumbs down his syntax, and also he imagines scenes and conversations and reactions no one could possibly know, and that's a tiny bit off-putting, but only a tiny bit.

  • Jenni Wiltz
    2018-09-27 21:22

    If you're expecting this book to be solely about what happened to the famous "Lost Colony," as the jacket copy indicates, you'll be disappointed. If you're expecting historical context that talks more about the whys and hows of Raleigh establishing a colony in America, this is right up your alley. There's a lot here about Raleigh's personal history, probably because there's the most source material about him. I would have liked to see more effort at tracking and characterizing the other players: Lane, White, Grenville, the Dares. I also would have liked to see more on the main attraction: the question of what happened to the colonists. Let's be honest...that's probably why you're interested in this book. It's discussed quickly, in the final few pages, without much effort to question what source material we have (especially Captain John Smith). A small book by Roanoke scholar David Beers Quinn (called "The Lost Colonists: Their Fortune and Probable Fate") does a much better job of this.There's a lot here about piracy, English foreign policy under Elizabeth I, and the constant conflict with the Spanish, both at sea and in North America. As long as you know that going in, you can appreciate this book for what it is. The jacket copy WAY oversells this as being about the settlers who disappeared. Read it if you want the big picture. If you want to focus on the details of what happened to the colonists, this isn't going to satisfy you.

  • Christine Boyer
    2018-10-13 02:22

    First, I'll say I love nonfiction, yet I haven't read any for a while. I'm disappointed, though, because I expected a little more from this book. I had been wanting to learn about the earliest English settlers for mainly 2 reasons: one, I teach this time period, and two, with my personal ancestry research I wanted more information on early arrival dates, etc. I picked this book because it's one of the more recently written accounts of this "Lost Colony" and I thought it would be better than others because of that. Horn does a good job of setting it up - the relationship between Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth I and how Raleigh was able to persuade her to even make the first voyages possible. But it sort of fell flat after that and rushed at the end. Would only recommend to real die-hards of early American history.

  • Christine
    2018-10-03 19:30

    American history, other than what I learned in school, isn't a big draw for me. I don't typically like reading about it but this selection was for a book group and if there was one story that I was always interested, it was that of the lost colonists at Roanoke.Sadly, this book failed to interest me. Even when the book finally nears the actual topic (the first 2/3 is mostly historical background information) I didn't think Horn brought anything new to the table of theories that already exist. Also, I do thing he spent too much time on the background and then comparatively breezed through the discussion of the topic.Perhaps, just not for me as I thought this would be more of a narrative work than what it was; straight up, dry, non-fiction. It was well-written but failed to do anything but leave a bad taste in my mouth.

  • Lynette
    2018-09-21 01:13

    This book was exceedingly thorough, to the point of sometimes feeling tangential. It was a bit annoying that the lost colony didn't really come into the story until almost 150 pages in - I almost lost interest. However, I feel that Horn absolutely did his research; all of the seemingly inconsequential information that he supplies us with eventually does come into play as support for his theories as to what happened to the colonists.For as thorough as this book was, it never got too dry. There were times when it started to head in that direction, but at the last minute, some really interesting information was revealed. I'd say that if you're struggling with this book early on, skip ahead to chapter 4, "A City on the Bay". That's really where the story of the lost colony starts, even though you won't meet the colonists for another 20 pages.

  • Cathy
    2018-09-28 22:25

    Now here's a book that gets a solid 3 stars, not 3.5. You know I like books on discovering "new" worlds and this is about the settling of Virginia. A colony set up, people left to settle the land, and then they're abondoned and basically never heard from again. I thought it would be more interesting than it was. A bit dry, a few too many people to keep straight. The man who left the colonists, including his daughter and her newborn baby, behind went to England to ask for more help and supplies. Instead of taking months, it takes years for him to return only to find no trace of the people he left. I wish the book had focused on him more, but clearly there isn't much info on him because the author breezed right over his death and I had almost skimmed that paragraph! Anyway, a so-so book and unless you're from Roanoke, in which case it might be of interest.

  • Dominic
    2018-10-20 19:03

    I am glad that I read the entire book, because "A Kingdom Strange" takes over 200 pages to get to the point. The first 200 pages of the book involve the history behind the founding of Roanoke. It explains Sir Walter Raleigh's quest to find the lost city of El Dorado and the passage to the Pacific Ocean along with the first failed attempt to colonize Roanoke. The last twenty pages are worth the wait, though. The supposed fate of the colonists of Roanoke is intriguing and worth the time it takes to get there. The ending is abrupt, but it completes the point of the author. The epilogue brings the book full circle. The only issue that drops the rating of this book down is, once again, the amount of time it takes to get to the point

  • Chris Dietzel
    2018-10-14 22:20

    I've always loved mysteries of history, so I was eager to read a book about the famous 'Lost Colony' of Roanoke. Instead of discussing the possibilities of what might have happened to the settlers, though, Horn focuses on biographies of the men who funded the trips from England and about relations between Spain and England. When he does finally get around to mentioning the missing settlers at the very end of the book, you would never know there was a mystery about what actually happened to them. Horn discusses their fate matter-of-factly for a few pages, then gets back to the lives of men living in England. Even if you're like me and love unsolved mysteries, I'd recommend staying away from this book.

  • Bridget
    2018-09-25 20:10

    While this books thoroughly lays out how the colony of Roanoke was settled, I agree with others that the description is somewhat misleading in regard to the shedding of new light on the fate of the colonists. I also thought that Horn spent a lot of time focusing on England and Raleigh's other exploits as if he needed more material to fill out the book. Finally, while I did enjoy the book, I felt that it was more of a popular history than I expected; Horn shows the extent of his research in his endnotes, but he cites a lot less than he should in the text and doesn't discuss other scholarly arguments.

  • Walt Milowic
    2018-09-29 21:13

    I enjoyed the book. As a teacher wishing to learn more about the Lost Colony, I learned quite a bit since the outcome of what happened to the colonists has never actually been determined. All of the clues and possibilities are presented and I now have a much better overall idea of what transpired. There have been several comments about how the "history" of the first half or more of the book did not tell us any more about what happened to the Lost Colony. That may be true, but the background of why the settlement was formed and the background history of the times was still very interesting and helped paint a better picture of the larger story.

  • Makayla
    2018-10-20 02:20

    This book was required reading for my history class. That is usually not the best way to go begin a journey with a book, but I was surprisingly enthusiastic about beginning it.I enjoyed it well enough, but, with the unnecessary elaboration on topics which I felt were trivial to the story, the book contained surprisingly little information about the colonists, their lives, or the colony itself. What little information was provided regarding the colony was riddled with uncertain phrases such as "the colonists may have.." or "maybe the colonists..." As someone who was hoping to gain more insight into the colonists and their lives, I was a little disappointed. I just wanted facts, dammit!

  • Terri
    2018-09-23 23:03

    The title is definitely accurate. What were Elizabethans thinking when they sent people out to colonize without teaching them how to survive? I borrowed this book from the library on a recommendation from a nice lady at the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, and it has definitely quenched my thirst about the Lost Colony. Because the author pieced together innumerable historical sources and accounts, it requires patience and perhaps a little imagination to enjoy. I give it 3 stars for scholarship.

  • Alan
    2018-09-23 22:18

    I read this book after reading several others on the same topic. The author goes into tremendous detail on the political and societal issues happening in the UK at the time of the attempted colonization of present day VA & NC. This book is very, very well researched and very well written. I liked the way the author focused on the human side of the governor of the colony, John White and his trials and tribulations after leaving his wife, children and friends in the colony. I enjoyed this book a great deal.

  • Craig
    2018-10-13 01:14

    While focusing on the lost colony of Roanoke, this book also does a nice job of providing the reasons for pre-Jamestown exploration and settlement of the New World. Sir Walter Ralegh and John White play particularly important roles in the tale. What did happen to the Lost Colony? Horn feels many of the settlers survived and went to different locations, some to Croatoan Island and others to more inland locations to live with friendlier Native American tribes. Eventually, they assimiliated into Native American cultures or were even massacred in post-Jamestown wars.

  • Joe Slavinsky
    2018-10-09 21:27

    I don't read a lot of non-fiction, just things that catch my interest. I've always been somewhat intrigued, by the "lost colony of Roanoke", and it always seems to get a mention, in any "Elizabethan Era" historical fiction that I've read. At any rate, Horn apparently has done very significant research on the subject, and has put together an interesting narrative, that despite the footnotes, reads like fiction. I found it fascinating, and I feel very enlightened on the subject now.

  • Kristin
    2018-10-04 23:09

    This could have been several chapter shorter and you wouldn't have lost much information. If you pick this book up, you're more interested in the colonists and what happened to them than what Sir Walter is having for breakfast in 1682. The ending was satisfying; it's just getting to that point that is frustrating. That and I noticed several typos that made my brain ache. That pictures of all the old maps were cool though.

  • Marian Allen
    2018-10-01 02:17

    Although this account of the "lost" colony was a little heavy on the "he may have" and the "it is probable that," the extensive endnotes justify some extrapolation. A KINGDOM STRANGE is the kind of history book I relish: based on original sources, with multiple sources compared and connected, and placing the particular piece of history being examined firmly in the contexts of the past and the moment, it left me with a better sense of the world than I had before I read it.Highly recommended.

  • Sarah -
    2018-10-02 19:27

    Though short, this text is a very thorough account of events leading up to the establishment of the doomed colony. It's as well-researched as possible, given the fact that we will never know for sure what happened to the colonists. You can't help but feel bad for John White, trying to get back to his family but never able to.Overall, such a quick read, I finished it in a matter of hours. Definitely easy to read while still being thorough.