A Man Most Driven

Captain John Smith, Pocahontas and the Founding of America

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About The Book

He fought and beheaded three Turkish adversaries in duels. He was sold into slavery, then murdered his master to escape. He sailed under a pirate flag, was shipwrecked and marched to the gallows to be hanged, only to be reprieved at the eleventh hour. And all this happened before he was thirty years old. This is Captain John Smith’s life.

Everyone knows the story of Pocahontas, and how in 1607 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. Now, in this first new 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 own writings against the historical and geographical reality on the ground.

With A Man Most Driven, Firstbrook delivers a riveting, enlightening dissection of this myth-making man, England’s arrival on the world stage, and the creation of America.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (November 6, 2014)
  • Length: 432 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781780741079

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Raves and Reviews

‘Exceptionally well-crafted, engaging’ 

– TLS

‘A lively and vivid new exploration of an extraordinary life.’

– Matthew Parker, author of The Sugar Barons

‘A riveting account of the astonishing adventures of one of the true heroes of English and American history. This is a real page-turner and makes history truly come alive.’

– Robert Hutchinson, author of Elizabeth's Spymaster and The Spanish Armada

‘Peter Firstbrook’s tenacious research for A Man Most Driven convinces me even more that Smith’s life was just as incredibly swashbuckling as Smith himself so colorfully but truthfully described.’

– William M. Kelso, Director of Research and Interpretation at the Jamestown Rediscovery Project

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