Book Review: A Kingdom Strange
The #LostColonyofRoanoke is one of those topics that has always fascinated me. How does a whole colony of people (116 men, women, and children!) just go missing with no definitive answers? Perhaps even stranger to me - why does this not seem like a big deal in many history classes? It's taught as if it's just a little blurb in history with no real significance, and not worthy of any real discussion. It doesn't even make it into major state level testing.
What a Shame!
There are certain topics that capture the imagination and excitement of both children and adults alike. #Disneyworld. #Olympics. #Cars. We talk about these things with passion. I feel like people who just vanish with no definitive answers should make this list. I'm just saying.
The lost colony of Roanoke is one of those windows of opportunity into history that intrigues people of all ages and allows us to engage in more than just dates and names.
Beyond the mundane feeling of simply learning about somebody that did something a long, long time ago - the Roanoke colony invites us to be intrigued, it invites us to study the mystery and in doing so it invites us to learn from them.
In his book, A Kingdom Strange, James Horn walks through what he pens as "the brief and tragic history of the lost colony of Roanoke". If you're expecting to dive right into the theories of what happened to the colonists you will be disappointed. This book is more like a story. It explains the politics in England that directly affected the expedition of the colony into the new world and the subsequent failure to provide for this colony. It also explains the colonists relationships with the nearby Native American tribes - each interaction directly affecting their safety and survival in a strange new land.
If I had to say one negative thing about this book it would probably be that it introduced a lot of names in short spaces. Which makes it easy to get confused if you are reading while being distracted.
That being said though, I really enjoyed how this book painted a good picture of relationships between different people. If there's one thing we can and should learn from history, it's the relationship factor. How can we interact with others who come from a different culture in a way that builds trust and community? How do politics drive events in a different direction than originally planned? These are things that we face today and these are things that the colonists of Roanoke experienced.
History is more than just something to be memorized.
Overall, I would recommend this book. Just for your convenience- you can click here to order it now!*
disclaimer: I make a small commission off any purchases made through that link.