Praise for


(Little, Brown 2018)

NEW WORLD, INC.: The Making of America by England's Merchant Adventurers, by John Butman and Simon Targett, recasts the story of America's founding as the greatest business start-up of all time. The book has received praise and been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Financial TimesWashington PostNPR's Marketplace, The Boston GlobeFinancial History MagazineMaine Boats, Homes, & Harbors, Talks at Google,  Foreign Affairs and other venues.

"As John Butman and Simon Targett remind us in their deeply researched and well-written New World, Inc., the Pilgrim venture was the outcome of English attempts over seven decades to reach the fabled East and Cathay (China). The goal was to find new opportunities to trade the country’s staple export, wool, in the face of the collapse of European markets in the mid-16th century. For those who believe that the interdependence of the destinies of the US and China is a recent occurrence, the book is a reminder that the American commonwealth in no small measure exists because of the centuries- old lure of China."

The Financial Times

In “New World, Inc.: The Making of America by England’s Merchant Adventurers,” John Butman and Simon Targett explain the origins of America’s colonies by examining London’s businesses—especially those that attracted investors eager to explore opportunities abroad. Much of what happened in London, the authors claim, propelled English settlements in the Western Hemisphere. “Even the Pilgrims, those paragons of virtue,” the authors tell us, “were funded by merchants, entrepreneurs, business leaders—both great and modest—and were organized as a commercial enterprise.”

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.  

- The Wall Street Journal


Americans, claim Butman and Targett in this brisk and fascinating book, spend too much time thinking about the Pilgrims and not enough time thinking about the hardheaded businessmen who did much more to found the main English-speaking settlements in what is now the United States. They have a point. “I am not so simple to think,” wrote Jamestown’s Captain John Smith about England’s North American possessions, that “any other motive than wealth will ever erect there a commonweal.”

- Foreign Affairs

"Business journalists and historians 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. 

 America's origin was not 'a fable of moral rectitude

and national goodness' but rather the culmination of

decades of business deals.

A lively and illuminating revisionist history."

- Kirkus Reviews

"This engrossing history of adventure and innovation, disclosing the true motive for America’s founding, will appeal to all readers."

Library Journal starred review

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