Sir William Berkeley and the forging of colonial Virginia /
Warren M. Billings.
Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, c2004.
xvii, 290 p.
0807130125 (hardcover : alk. paper)
More Details
Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, c2004.
0807130125 (hardcover : alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2005-07-01:
In this definitive biography of one of early America's most prominent figures, Billings (Univ. of New Orleans) depicts a conscientious and skilled statesman. William Berkeley is not simply an opportunist and the tyrant of Bacon's Rebellion (only 12 pages are given to the rebellion). Before becoming royal governor of Virginia (1642-52; 1662-77), Berkeley had ample service as a courtier to Charles I. He acquired great wealth as a large landholder, agriculturalist, and industrialist and from revenues allotted him by the crown and colony. Berkeley had to deal with three Anglo-Dutch wars, two Indian conflicts, repercussions of the English Civil War, and Bacon's Rebellion. He shaped a deferential social order headed by the great planters and guided economic diversification and political reform. A major factor in Berkeley's downfall was his fair treatment of the Indians, alienating the interior planters. Billings uncovers many obscure sources in his exhaustive research on both sides of the Atlantic. His superbly written biography is the first full study of Berkeley and fills a void in Anglo-Virginia history. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All US history collections. H. M. Ward emeritus, University of Richmond
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Choice, July 2005
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Unpaid Annotation
Despite his central role in the development of Virginia, Berkeley, governor from 1641 to 1677, has been as misunderstood by historians as he was by his contemporaries, his motives and character a source of contention for three centuries. Billings offers the first full-scale treatment of this influential Englishman's life, revealing the extent to which Berkeley shaped early Virginia and within the wider context of seventeenth-century Anglo-American history.
Unpaid Annotation
Sir William Berkeley influenced colonial Virginia more than any other man of his era. He won an appointment as governor of Virginia in 1641 and became Virginia's leading politician and planter, indelibly stamping his ambitions, accomplishments, and ultimately, his failures upon the colony. Warren M. Billings offers a treatment of Berkeley's life.

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