Richard Hakluyt the younger, a contemporary of William Shakespeare, advocated the creation of English colonies in the New World at a time when the advantages of this idea were far from self-evident. Although he never traveled farther than Paris, Hakluyt spent much of the 1580s recording information about the western hemisphere and became an international authority on overseas exploration. Historian Peter Mancall traces Hakluyt's rise to prominence as a source of information and inspiration for England's policy makers—including the queen—and his advocacy for colonies in Roanoke and Jamestown.
"Peter Mancall follows Richard Hakluyt through the crooked streets and paneled private rooms of late Renaissance London and Paris—and shows for the first time how this scholar and writer, who rarely left the south of England, became his country's most eloquent impresario of travel, trade and colonization."—Anthony Grafton
"A thorough, highly readable account of one of the most elusive players in the early history of English America. Hakluyt's Promise is certain to be the Elizabethan geographer's definitive biography for years to come."—Eliga H. Gould