Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Title: Roanoke: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony
Author: Lee Miller
Genre: American history, non-fiction
Most Americans are familiar with the legend surrounding the Lost Colony of Roanoke: a small group of English settlers attempts to create a colony in the New World only to vanish under mysterious circumstances. Unfortunately, most history books gloss over Roanoke in a paragraph and it's on to the next fact.
Lee Miller digs deeper and comes up with a complicated, yet interesting theory. She theorizes that the Roanoke colonists were a Separatist group seeking asylum and a fresh start in the New World. Unfortunately, they were sabotaged by a member of the royal court who was the archnemesis of Sir Walter Raleigh. Lee Miller also theorizes that the colonists were kidnapped by the local Native American tribes, enslaved by them, and intermarried with them. She based this theory on reports of explorers in the late 1500s and early 1600s that came across "Indians with beards," "Indians with grey eyes," and sightings of Native Americans in English-style houses.
This is a fascinating aspect of American history and Lee Miller spent much time researching this, but the only fault with this book is her writing style. I had read other reviews online that criticized her writing style and I thought the reviewer was being harsh. Now I know what they were talking about. She sprinkles fragmented sentences throughout her paragraphs, like they were quick notes and ideas that were jotted down but not fleshed out. I don't know how this passed by an editor, but it drove me crazy and it took me longer to read this book because of it.