by J. Van Den Hout
English | 2018 | ISBN: 1438469217 | 221 Pages | PDF | 80 MB
The first comprehensive biography of an important yet understudied figure in the Dutch colony of New Netherland, the book tells the story of the young legal activist Adriaen van der Donck (1618-1655), whose fight to secure the struggling colony made him a controversial but pivotal figure in early America. At best, he has been labeled a hero, a visionary, and a spokesman of the people. At worst, he has been branded arrogant and self-serving. The wide range of opinions about him testifies to the fact that, more than three centuries after his death, Van der Donck remains an intriguing character.
J. van den Hout follows Adriaen der Donck from his war-torn seventeenth-century Dutch childhood and privileged university education to the New World, as he attempted to make his mark on the fledgling fur trading settlement. After becoming embroiled in the politics of Manhattan, Van der Donck took the colonists' complaints against their Dutch West India Company administrators back to the highest level of government in the Dutch Republic, in what became a fight for his adopted homeland and a bicontinental showdown. Denounced and detained, but not deterred, he wrote a landmark book that still remains as a testament to his vision for the country, as the changes he set in motion continued long after his early death. Van der Donck's determination to stand by his convictions offers a revealing look into the human spirit and the strong will that drives it against adversity and in search of justice.
"A biography of Adriaen van der Donck was long overdue. With her cradle-to-grave narrative, Van den Hout presents a comprehensive timeline of one of the most fascinating figures in early colonial America. This elegantly written study, carefully researched and lavishly illustrated, also provides an excellent introduction to the seventeenth-century Dutch colony of New Netherland." - Jeroen Dewulf, Queen Beatrix Professor in Dutch Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of The Pinkster King and the King of Kongo: The Forgotten History of America's Dutch-Owned Slaves