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Everyone knows the story of Pocahontas, and how she saved John Smith. And were it not for Smith’s leadership, the Jamestown colony would surely have failed. Yet Smith was a far more ambitious explorer and soldier of fortune than these tales suggest and a far more ambitious self-promoter, too, so reputed for his truculence that the pilgrims of the Mayflower snubbed him when he offered them his services, though he was the unrivaled expert on America. Now, in the first major biography of Smith in decades, award-winning BBC filmmaker and author Peter Firstbrook (The Obamas, Lost on Everest) traces the adventurer’s astonishing exploits across three continents, testing Smith’s own writings against the historical and geographical reality on the ground.
With A Man Most Driven, Firstbrook delivers a riveting, enlightening dissection of this mythology-making man and the invention of America.
Peter Firstbrook is author of The Voyage of Matthew (about the explorer John Cabot), Lost on Everest (about George Mallory), and The Obamas: The Untold Story of an African Family. For 25 years, he worked for the BBC as a television producer, director, and executive producer specializing in historical documentaries. He has won over 30 international awards, including the Royal Television Society award for best documentary, twice. He lives in London.