This engaging work of horizontal history spanning John Smith’s lifespan from 1580-1631 gives readers a picture of the world just before and during the colonization of America.
When Smith was a boy, Shakespeare was on his way to London to become an actor, the Spanish Armada had failed to conquer England, Mary Queen of Scots had lost her head, and Akbar the young prince of India sought to rule his people wisely. Galileo was perfecting his telescope and seeing things never before seen by the human eye, while Pocahontas romped the forests of Virginia and saved a young Englishman's life. A little band of Pilgrims seeking to escape religious persecution in England fled to Holland and a little Dutch boy named Rembrandt began to paint.
These are just a few of the intriguing personalities, events, discoveries, and advances that made up the world of Captain John Smith and are now made alive to the reader in Foster's masterful way.
"This book is a story of the world. It is a slice of history measured by the lifetime of Captain John Smith, a small, courageous Englishman who was born in the days of Queen Elizabeth I and whose heart, he said, had been forever 'set on brave adventure.' This is a very successful and welcome addition to Mrs. Fosters other horizontal treatments of history in which she presents, along with historical events, a total picture of the world - religious, cultural, social, and economic - during the span of one man's life. As in the others, many drawings add much to the attractiveness of the volume and are in keeping with the lively, authentic text.” - Horn Book
About the Author:
Genevieve Foster began her career as a commercial artist, illustrator, and advertiser. In the late 1930s it occurred to Foster to write about history in a "horizontal" versus "vertical" fashion, i.e., that national histories should not be taught in isolation from one another. She said that the way history was traditionally taught was "about as dull and unsatisfying, as a play might be, if only one character appeared upon the stage, while the others faintly mumbled their lines in the wings, out of sight of the audience."
She was at the forefront of this new method of historical writing, which viewed history as a cross section of intertwined events and looked at a person in their worldwide historical context. In her books, she integrated global historical events into the telling of a person's life. Her purpose was to make historical figures "alive for children". During her career she wrote 19 nonfiction children's books. Foster traveled extensively and most of her books were translated into 12 languages and were distributed by the U.S. State Department.