A Nelson Mandela For An Earlier Time

Most White House reporters stick to what they know when it comes time to pen a book. But Cox Newspapers correspondent Bob Deans thought bigger. "I found it fascinating to write about the first great leader we know of in English America-Chief Powhatan." Yes, the father of Pocahontas and the first native big shot the British encountered.

In The River Where America Began, Deans charts civilization along Virginia's James and finds the chief to be more than the despot others have called him. If Powhatan had been born today, Deans thinks he knows whom the chief would be compared to: "It's not hard to imagine Powhatan as a kind of 17th-century Nelson Mandela, standing boldly for the cause of his people."

By Paul Bedard