Stuff in the ‘marooned’ Category

22 October, 2019

MAROONED: Jamestown, Shipwreck, and the New History of America’s Origin, by Joseph Kelly, Ph.D.

Now available in paperback, a groundbreaking history that makes the case for replacing Plymouth Rock with Jamestown as America’s founding myth.

“The U.S. loves its creation myths, and this mythmaking, myth-breaking history gives us a new character, Stephen Hopkins… Though Hopkins and those like him left few records, Kelly fleshes out the available glimpses with a vivid, detailed description of the settlement and its English and Native American contexts…Kelly’s dynamic narrative brings Jamestown to life and shows how history reflects the present as well as the past.” ―starred review, Booklist

We all know the great American origin story. It begins with an exodus. Fleeing religious persecution, the hardworking, pious Pilgrims thrived in the wilds of New England, where they built their fabled city on a hill. Legend goes that the colony in Jamestown was a false start, offering a cautionary tale. Lazy louts hunted gold till they starved, and the shiftless settlers had to be rescued by English food and the hard discipline of martial law.

Neither story is true. In Marooned, Joseph Kelly reexamines the history of Jamestown and comes to a radically different and decidedly American interpretation of these first Virginians.

In this gripping account of shipwrecks and mutiny in America’s earliest settlements, Kelly argues that the colonists at Jamestown were literally and figuratively marooned, cut loose from civilization, and cast into the wilderness. The British caste system meant little on this frontier: those who wanted to survive had to learn to work and fight and intermingle with the nearby native populations. Ten years before the Mayflower Compact and decades before Hobbes and Locke, they invented the idea of government by the people. 150 years before Jefferson, they discovered the truth that all men were equal.

The epic origin of America was not an exodus and a fledgling theocracy. It is a tale of shipwrecked castaways of all classes marooned in the wilderness fending for themselves in any way they could—a story that illuminates who we are today.


21 July, 2013

Kelly

Photo credit: Leslie McKeller

Whether he’s writing about John Smith or John C. Calhoun, about the Union’s siege of Charleston in the Civil War or the shipwrecked birth of America, Joseph Kelly looks for the human story, fully painting the figures who make history happen. Always he aims to write about complex ideas and history in lively, readable prose. His interests range from the obscenity trial of James Joyce’s Ulysses to U. S. Southern history. Currently, he’s tackling the maroons, mutineers, and pirates who pioneered the idea of America. His Marooned: Shipwreck, Jamestown, and the Epic Story of the First Americans was published by Bloomsbury Press in Fall 2018.

In addition to several critical and biographical articles on James Joyce, Kelly’s first book, Our Joyce:  From Outcast to Icon, uses extensive archival research to uncover the manipulations of this monumental figure of modern literature by liberals and conservatives in the American culture wars.  His popular introductory books on short stories, poems, essays, and plays, W. W. Norton & Company’s Seagull Readers, have sold well over 100,000 copies and are entering their 4th edition.  His latest offering from Overlook Press, America’s Longest Siege:  Charleston, Slavery, and the Slow March toward Civil War, “brings a literary sensibility to the craft of history writing,” according to the eminent Lincoln scholar, Orville Vernon Burton.

Kelly earned his Ph. D. in literature with a minor in history from the University of Texas at Austin in 1992.  Since then, he has been teaching a variety of courses at the College of Charleston, most recently Irish nationalism and culture, urban geography, and composition.  He is the Co-Director of the College of Charleston’s Commission on Diversity, a Faculty Administrative Fellow in the President’s office, and a recent recipient of the Charleston’s Distinguished Service Award and Leo I. Higden Outstanding Leadership Award.