Commonwealth Books of Virginia to Publish 'Pocahontas and Sacagawea: Interwoven Legacies In American History'

Commonwealth Books of Virginia to Publish 'Pocahontas and Sacagawea: Interwoven Legacies In American History'

Commonwealth Books of Virginia will publish Cyndi Spindell Berck's historical narrative "Pocahontas and Sacagawea: Interwoven Legacies In American History". As a small press, the organization aims to create three dimensional histories. Mrs. Berck's forthcoming book is a fine example of Commonwealth's motto- "Where History, Philosophy, and Art Meet".

So many myths surround Pocahontas and Sacagawea that the fascinating true stories are often obscured. Mysteries about their lives remain even today. For instance, did Pocahontas really save John Smith's life? Did Sacagawea die young or live a long life? Pocahontas and Sacagawea brings the legacies of these famous women and their peoples up to the present. This rigorously researched work of nonfiction focuses on the personalities and adventures of the American west.

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"This book offers an original perspective on two of the best-known, least-understood women in American history," said Landon Y. Jones, author of William Clark and the Shaping of the American West, in an advance review.

Mrs. Berck weaves the stories of these two Native American heroines with those of their friends, kin, and contemporaries, tracing a slice of American migration from the first permanent English settlement in Jamestown, Virginia, across the Appalachian Mountains, through the land of the Cherokees, to St. Louis, up the Missouri River, and finally to the Pacific. We meet John Smith, Daniel Boone, and William Clark on this journey. We also meet famous mountain man James Beckwourth, who was a friend of Sacagawea's son, and a Northern Paiute woman named Sarah Winnemucca, whose family gave its name to a town in Nevada.

Mrs. Berck's book adds an important new dimension to the story of western migration and the European settlement of America. "This lively and informative study looks at key moments in American history from a very fresh angle," commented Joyce Appleby, Professor Emerita of History, University of California, Los Angeles.

"The nation-building set in motion in Jamestown, and accelerated by Lewis and Clark, led to terrible consequences for American Indians," Mrs. Berck observed in a recent interview. "Yet, not all of the interactions between whites and Indians were brutal. There appeared to be genuine friendships between Pocahontas and John Smith, and between Sacagawea and William Clark. These cross-cultural relationships are important to understand," the author said in closing. "I see them as hopeful alternatives to the territorial and cultural conflicts so common in our world today."