The Forty Years that Created America: The Story of the Explorers, Promoters, Investors, and Settlers Who Founded the First English Colonies

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9781442236592: The Forty Years that Created America: The Story of the Explorers, Promoters, Investors, and Settlers Who Founded the First English Colonies

The names “Jamestown” and “Plymouth” have become synonymous for most students of American history with “founding,” and “birth”—both, of the American nation, and of freedom and democracy themselves. In this book, author Ted Lamont asks us to reconsider our country’s formative years, and explore the stories, lives, achievements, and failures of America’s earliest founding fathers: those who paved the way for the Colonial Era, and the American Revolution. They were explorers, investors, passionate religious leaders, and determined developers who struggled for generations to successfully plant the English flag in this strange new soil. Lamont deftly details the ways in which the stories and struggles of figures like Sir Walter Raleigh, Bartholomew Gosnold, Richard Hakluyt, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, and Captain John Smith were not just related, but connected in ways that help us better understand the colonies and culture born of their efforts. The infancy of America— from Roanoke’s founding in 1585 through the firm establishment of Jamestown and Plymouth in 1625—is where we first see planted the seeds of the rest of America’s colonial, economic, political, and cultural history, that was the immensely difficult, and often overlooked, first step toward the New World we are still working to perfect.

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About the Author:

Edward M. Lamont served in the U.S. Navy, and was a banker for twenty-three years with the World Bank and JP Morgan & Co. He also worked for the Marshall Plan and NATO in Paris and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, DC. He is a chairman emeritus of The Children's Aid Society in New York City. Lamont is the author of The Ambassador From Wall Street: The Story of Thomas W. Lamont, J.P. Morgan's Chief Executive and Ned Miner and His Pioneering Forebears. He and his wife Camille made their home in Laurel Hollow, Long Island, New York. They have three children and five grand children.

Review:

Lamont examines English colonization of the New World from 1585-1625 while taking a close look at the activities of Captain John Smith of Jamestown and Governor William Bradford of Plymouth. Between the uneven trajectory of colonization and the various obstacles settlers had to overcome along the way, Lamont arrives at the conclusion that to be motivated by profit was by no means a harbinger of success for colonists. Indian skirmishes, disease, and various disasters made it a wonder any of them survived at all. Lamont covers a lot of literal ground (from Quebec to Florida and beyond) and enlivens his narrative through diaries, letters and publications, and historical legends. John Smith plays a prominent role, particularly in his role as a promoter of English settlement. Many parts of Lamont’s story will feel familiar, but readers will learn a great deal more about Sir Walter Raleigh, Pocahontas, and the investors in the settlements. Lamont offers a concise but thorough profile of a period through the eyes of those who lived it. (Publishers Weekly)

Edward Lamont brings to life the struggle and sacrifice of the brave men and women who founded America. He has given us a well-told tale of folly and brutality, courage and vision—fortunately, more of the latter than the former. (Evan Thomas,  former editor of Newsweek, is author of Ike's Bluff and The War Lovers.)

True to his promise, Ted Lamont honors dozens of unique characters in The Forty Years that Created America. From intrepid explorers, to Pilgrims and Puritans, to Indian chiefs, a feisty John Smith, and a valiant Pocahontas, the stage was set for the transformation of His Majesty's plantation into a nation of free Americans. (Phyllis Lee Levin,  former columnist for The New York Times, is author of the biographies, Abigail Adams, and Edith and Woodrow)

The names “Jamestown” and “Plymouth” have become synonymous for most students of American history with “founding,” and “birth” – both of the American nation, and of freedom and democracy themselves. Many still wrongly believe that, before these colonies were founded by white settlers, the land that would become America lay empty, unpopulated, and open for the taking. In this book, author Ted Lamont asks us to reconsider our country’s formative years, and explore the stories, lives, achievements, and failures of America’s earliest founding fathers: those who paved the way for the Colonial Era, and the American Revolution.

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