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Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite
Margaret A. Rice's The Henry Bagwell Story is the first-ever published biography of a prominent character related to the Accomack Plantation in Virginia and a fascinating journey into the hard life of the pioneers of the 17th century. Bagwell was born in Exeter, Devon, in the southwest of England in 1589, and after leaving his homeland to move to America, he became the first clerk of the Accomack Plantation. He recorded the events he experienced, thus writing the oldest records in English-speaking America. Through careful research of the sources, Rice portrays this man and his contemporaries, giving us an idea of their living conditions and hindrances. With attention to even the smallest detail, The Henry Bagwell Story is a fascinating representation not just of a single man but an entire group of people.
I am fascinated by history, and having the chance to learn more about those who helped make America the nation it is today makes me understand at what cost this country was created. Margaret A. Rice is to be praised for her research and especially for the way she used the material. Starting from the trips to America before Bagwell's and concluding the book with the stories of his descendants, Rice has given us a thorough and accurate picture. I was thrilled by reading The Henry Bagwell Story because of Rice's detailed information, which gave me the impression of seeing the places and the dwellers' lives. I recommend The Henry Bagwell Story to readers interested in 17th century American history and who value painstaking historical research.