17th century

The Forgotten History of America: Little-Known Conflicts of Lasting Importance from the Earliest Colonists to the Eve of the Revolution by Cormac O’Brien

The Forgotten History of America by Cormac O'Brien

History, particularly popular history, need not be dull, something that Cormac O’Brien demonstrates readily in his book, The Forgotten History of America. Written in a conversational tone and broken into vignettes, old history is made new when written this way. Even so, it’s not the standard stuff taught in schools. It’s about wars and both sides in those wars, reaching back to the country’s colonial beginnings in the 16th century. With personalities writ large on both sides and a good understanding of the differences in modern and historical society, O’Brien leads his readers on journeys back in time:

It begins with the first permanent European settlement in North America:

1565

Pedro Menedez de Aviles anxiously paced the deck of his flagship, San Pelayo. Two days earlier, off the coast of Florida, he had gone ashore and met with Indians who offered valuable information about the prey he was desperately seeking.  Now, confident of success, he led his five vessels northward along the coastline, scanning the beaches for any sign of European settlement.  The day was September 4, 1565, and Menendez was hunting heretics.

Colonial Churches of Virginia

By Don W. and Sue Massey

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A beautiful and beautifully-written work that does a good job of giving the history and architectural highlights of more than 50 historic churches in the Old Dominion. Most are Anglican or Episcopal, but representative early churches can also be found for Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Mennonite, and Lutheran congregations. Current service times are noted for each church. Locally, readers can visit Yeocomico Church in Westmoreland County, Aquia Church in Stafford County, as well as St. Paul's Church and Lamb's Creek Church in King George County.

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Seeds of Discontent: The Deep Roots of the American Revolution, 1650-1750, by J. Revell Carr

Seeds of Discontent: The Deep Roots of the American Revolution, 1650-1750, by J.

The American Revolution didn’t start with the Tea Party.

For more than 100 years before that, the immigrants who came to America had very cogent reasons for leaving the civilized world. Many were hotheads—rebels against the king and his policies on religion. Others had come to the colonies hoping to make their fortunes and discovered much to their dismay that the king was very interested in taking a cut of their profits through high taxes, particularly on tobacco.

In Virginia, high taxes meant that the small farmers were left landless when they could not pay. Their farms were taken by wealthier landholders and the dispossessed went to the frontier to find new land to support them and their families. Not surprisingly, this meant clashes with the native population, some of which were quite bloody. Royal Governor Berkeley’s refusal to support the frontier farmers with soldiers—and his obvious friendships with the wealthier Tidewater land barons--led to Bacon’s Rebellion against the king’s most powerful representative and was but one example of the tension felt between the colonists and their royal masters’ representatives.

Anne Hutchinson

By Susan Bivin Aller

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In colonial Massachusetts, only men could be preachers. Anne Hutchinson angered church leaders by preaching about God during meetings in her home. The church leaders put Anne on trial for her spiritual teachings.
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Once Upon a Time with Charles Perrault

"As soon as he entered the wood all those great trees, and the interlaced brambles and thorns, separated to let him pass. He walked towards the castle, which he could see at the end of a great avenue. He was surprised that none of his companions had been able to follow him, since the trees had closed in again as soon as he had passed. But he did not falter. A young prince in love is always brave."

Sleeping Beauty. Cinderella. Puss in Boots. Little Red Riding Hood.
These enduring stories were created as we know them by a brilliant man who lived in 17th-century France. Although similar, but simpler stories were gathered more directly by the folklorists Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the 19th century, it was Charles Perrault's addition of delicate and amusing words, crafted to entrance a noble audience, that caught fire with readers' imaginations and were the basis for the way these stories are remembered today. It is easy to see the difference between a story collected by Grimm and a tale sculpted by Perrault. A Grimm tale is simple and direct and sometimes alarming while Perrault's are laced with details that still fire modern imaginations.

Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World

By Catalina de Erauso

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“Born in 1585, Catalina de Erauso led one of the most wildly fantastic lives of any woman in history. Refusing to be regimented into the quiet habits of a nun's life, she escaped from a Basque convent at age fourteen dressed as a man, and continuing her deception, ventured to Peru and Chile as a soldier in the Spanish army. After mistakenly killing her own brother in a duel, she roamed the Andean highlands, becoming a gambler and a killer, and always just evading the grasp of the law.”

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A Travel Guide to Shakespeare's London

By James Barter

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"...a colorful and lively period travel guide that provides glimpses into the life of this great city at the time of Queen Elizabeth, four hundred years ago. Travelers wishing to visit London are provided information about travel tips, the best inns for lodging, great food in taverns or pubs, and guided tours of London's oldest and most historically significant architecture. Interspersed within the guide are recommendations for daily cultural and entertaining activities as well as day trips outside of the city."

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Shakespeare's Theater

By Jacqueline Morley

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"History and architecture combine to bring the past to life. Filled with full-color, cut-away illustrations and informative text, each volume looks at a single structure and the everyday life of the people who built them ... and enjoyed them."

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Shakespeare

By Peter Chrisp

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This richly illustrated book, part of DK's Eyewitness series, presents the life and work of Shakespeare and gives information about the theater of 16th-century London.

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One Day in Shakespeare's England

By Avis Murton Carter

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From the poor to the tradesmen to the very rich, follow the everyday lives of people in the year 1600. 48 pages.

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