From the best-selling author of Leviathan comes this sweeping narrative of one of America’s most historically rich industries. Beginning his epic history in the early 1600s, Eric Jay Dolin traces the dramatic rise and fall of the American fur trade industry, from the first Dutch encounters with the Indians to the rise of the conservation movement in the late 19th century.
Dolin shows how the fur trade, driven by the demands of fashion, sparked controversy, fostered economic competition, and fueled wars among the European powers as North America became a battleground for colonization and imperial aspirations.
The trade in beaver, buffalo, sea otter, and other animal skins spurred the exploration and the settlement of the vast American continent, while it alternately enriched and gravely damaged the lives of America’s native peoples.
Populated by a larger-than-life cast, including Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant, President Thomas Jefferson, America’s first millionaire John Jacob Astor, and mountain man Kit Carson, Fur, Fortune, and Empire is the most comprehensive and compelling history of the American fur trade ever written.
©2010 Eric Jay Dolin (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“[An] absorbing story…Dolin, author of the acclaimed Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America, offers another good history well told.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A delightful history, reminding readers that while noble ideals led to the settling of the United States, the fur trade paid the bills.” (Kirkus Reviews)
A compilation of trivia, in chronological order, does not make good history. You need context, you need to use your core story (in this case, the history of the fur trade) to say something about economic history or cultural history or social history, to write an excellent history book. Even (and perhaps especially) a popular history book. Dolin has failed to do this, I was very disappointed.
The narration is very good. It is not the narration that brings this work down.
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