ABOUT THIS BOOK
"Send those on land that will show themselves diligent writers." So urged the "sailing instructions" prepared for explorer Henry Hudson. With distinctive command of the primary texts created by such "diligent writers" as Columbus, William Bradford, and Thomas Jefferson, Wayne Franklin describes how the New World was created from their new words. The long verbal discovery of America, he asserts, entailed both advance and retreat, sudden insights and blind insistence on old ways of seeing. The discoverers, explorers, and settlers depicted America in words—or via maps, tables, and landscape views—as a complex spatial and political entity, a place where ancient formula and current fact were inevitably at odds.