Books: Elizabethan Captain

CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH (375 pp.)—Bradford Smith—Lippincott ($5).

Here lies one conquer'd that hath conquer'd Kings,

Subdu'd large Territories, and done things

Which to the world impossible would seeme,

But that the truth is held in more esteeme.

Captain John Smith's epitaph in St. Sepulchre's Church, London, where he lies buried, gives Pocahontas' old friend the benefit of the doubt. Succeeding generations, noting the "impossible" deeds he recounted about himself, have sometimes suspected he was a liar of extraordinary feather.

Now comes Biographer Bradford Smith* with information that seems to give the truth back to Captain Smith and the lie to his detractors. In the past, critics of...

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