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Publisher's Summary

Three generations of English merchant adventurers - not the Pilgrims, as we have so long believed - were the earliest founders of America. Profit - not piety - was their primary motive.

Some 70 years before the Mayflower sailed, a small group of English merchants formed "The Mysterie, Company, and Fellowship of Merchant Adventurers for the Discovery of Regions, Dominions, Islands, and Places Unknown", the world's first joint-stock company. Back then, in the mid-16th century, England was a small and relatively insignificant kingdom on the periphery of Europe, and it had begun to face a daunting array of social, commercial, and political problems. Struggling with a single export - woolen cloth - the merchants were forced to seek new markets and trading partners, especially as political discord followed the straitened circumstances in which so many English people found themselves.

At first they headed east, and dreamed of Cathay - China, with its silks and exotic luxuries. Eventually, they turned west, and so began a new chapter in world history. The work of reaching the New World required the very latest in navigational science as well as an extraordinary appetite for risk. As this absorbing account shows, innovation and risk-taking were at the heart of the settlement of America, as was the profit motive. Trade and business drove English interest in America, and determined what happened once their ships reached the New World.

The result of extensive archival work and a bold interpretation of the historical record, New World, Inc. draws a portrait of life in London, on the Atlantic, and across the New World that offers a fresh analysis of the founding of American history. In the tradition of the best works of history that make us reconsider the past and better understand the present, Butman and Targett examine the enterprising spirit that inspired European settlement of America and established a national culture of entrepreneurship and innovation that continues to this day.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 John Butman and Simon Targett (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Although every school child knows the story of America's discovery by Columbus, how the English came to North America has been surprisingly forgotten. The discovery of 'New' England (and North America) by a group of daring seafarers backed by English merchants and ultimately Queen Elizabeth I herself was accidental - even unwanted. New World Inc. paints a fascinating portrait of personal daring and bold risk taking, of deceit and court intrigue, of murder, greed, loss of life, cunning, disappointment and unexpected success. It is a captivating read." (Antoine Van Agtmael, author of The Smartest Places on Earth)

"In New World Inc., John Butman and Simon Targett deliver an intelligent, thorough, and detailed examination of the financial stories powering the earliest voyages to America. Skillfully told, this compelling book elevates the overlooked economic motivations behind the first American settlements to their proper place in history." (Bhu Srinivasan, author of Americana: A 400-Year History of American Capitalism

"The fascinating story of the merchant adventurers, the 16th-century equivalent of today's venture capitalists, who risked their capital for the prospects of enormous profits and were behind explorers like Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh, who discovered and first settled the New World. Brilliantly researched and vividly told, New World Inc. will give you a totally new perspective on the history of the founding of this country." (Liaquat Ahamed, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lords of Finance

"Butman and Targett are fluent storytellers with an eye for detail." (Publishers Weekly

"Butman and Targett argue persuasively that the myth of America's founding narrative, centered on the Pilgrims' quest for religious freedom, ignores the reality of England's relationship to the New World in the 16th century.... A lively and illuminating revisionist history." (Kirkus

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Commerce as Key in Early American History

This is a very illuminating book and deserves attention for the focus it brings to the centrality of Commerce/Capitalism in the founding of the North American colonies (and, indeed, of the U.S.). A long history of commercial interest in the New World is revealed by the authors, calling into question the notion of America as primarily a religious/democratic "City on a Hill." America was, according to these authors, first and foremost a resource to be exploited. Profit, not Puritanism or Political Gain, was the driving force behind the settlement of the North America. You can't listen to this well-written, well-sourced narrative of the pre-Colonial era and not appreciate that! Ultimately, the book also sheds light on who we are as a nation--a people who give almost preternatural value to the "entrepreneurial spirit." It's all there in the early modern history of the place.

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Great narrator for interesting history

I love books that tell history from a different perspective and this fits the bill. This book was well researched and well paced. I learned a lot, the writing was good and the narrator did a great job. Kipiniak has a great voice that is clear and grips the reader\listener.