In this sweeping, enthralling biography, acclaimed historian David Hackett Fischer brings to life the remarkable Samuel de Champlain - soldier, spy, master mariner, explorer, cartographer, artist, and Father of New France.
We remember Champlain mainly as a great explorer. On foot and by ship and canoe, he traveled through what are now six Canadian provinces and five American states. Over more than 30 years he founded, colonized, and administered French settlements in North America. Sailing frequently between France and Canada, he maneuvered through court intrigue in Paris and negotiated among more than a dozen Indian nations in North America to establish New France. Champlain had early support from Henri IV and later Louis XIII, but the Queen Regent Marie de Medici and Cardinal Richelieu opposed his efforts. Despite much resistance and many defeats, Champlain, by his astonishing dedication and stamina, finally established France's New World colony. He tried constantly to maintain peace among Indian nations that were sometimes at war with one another, but when he had to, he took up arms and forcefully imposed a new balance of power, proving himself a formidable strategist and warrior.
Throughout his three decades in North America, Champlain remained committed to a remarkable vision, a Grand Design for France's colony. He encouraged intermarriage among the French colonists and the natives, and he insisted on tolerance for Protestants. He was a visionary leader, especially when compared to his English and Spanish contemporaries - a man who dreamed of humanity and peace in a world of cruelty and violence. This superb biography, the first in decades, is as dramatic and exciting as the life it portrays. Deeply researched, it is illustrated throughout with many contemporary images and maps, including several drawn by Champlain himself.
©2008 David Hackett Fischer; (P)2008 Simon & Schuster
Edward Herrmann's narration is superb, as usual. This is a very pleasant listen. Its quality is exceeded only by the enjoyability of the text itself.
The author brings Champlain's character, life and times in an illuminating and interesting manner. His relationships with native Americans were especially poignant.
This story of French colonization in North America fills in a few gaps that I've developed as a US citizen fed on a diet of typical American colonial histories. Upon completion of this book, it occurred to me that my Canadian friends have reason to be proud of their historical connection to this great man.
In my view, this book is a natural complement of Nathanial Philbrick's book - Mayflower.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book - and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys history or biographies.
This is an excellent listen. Wonderful narration of a refreshing look at a progressive architect of the Euro-Native civilization in the Champlain Valley of North America & Canada.
This book is well written, and very informative. The topic is very important for understanding, not just the beginnings of Canada, but the chaos going on in Europe around this time. In many ways, I liked that part of the book the most. The events in Europe at the time (especially the religious disorder in France in the late 16th century) were very important in shaping the modern age, and no book I have read summarizes this slice of events as well as this.
I not only laughed and cried while listening to Champlain's Dream; I gasped and hooted, flinched, was struck speechless...ran through the whole gamut of emotive reactions, because the story is told in such masterfully immediate fashion, and the narration is SO, so good. But -- cried? over a HISTORY book? Well, yes: at the end, as the author summarized all the very sane and salient points he'd made through the course of the book, as to how Champlain might be a model for 'leadership qualities', I was actually moved to tears. A truly enjoyable and thoroughly edifying audio experience.
I have always felt that this period of history and the participants, especially Champlain and the Jesuits contains some of the worlds great stories. The Jesuits are touched on only lightly here. but they, along with Champlain provide an unmatched window into that world, and the native americans they met, through their writings.
Edward Herman's narrative is superb, and although this is an abridged version it is well worth the purchase
One of the best histories I have ever read. Fisher sheds so much new light on the French role in exploring and colonizing North America. Champlain emerges as a great man with wisdom and vision beyond his time. One can only wonder what the fate of the Native Americans might have been if the French had prevailed over the English.
This was my second of Fishers books: Paul Revere and Washington's crossing are also fantastic. Fisher is a master storyteller and pre-eminate historican.
Ten stars would have been more appropriate!
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