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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Narration - Illuminating History

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.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Audrey
  • Marlton, NJ, USA
  • 12-30-08

Father of Nieux Francais in a New Light

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Shaun
  • Apollo, PA, United States
  • 02-19-14

Audible needs more David Hackett Fischer

This is a great listen on Champlain and the "Québécois/Habitants" that is sadly abridged. The narration is highly professional. "Champlain's Dream" is part of a series of sorts, about the roots of various regional cultures in North America. Audible really needs Hackett Fischer "Albion's Seed" which chronicles the early US and the roots of New England, Tidewater, Appalachia, and the Midlands, and "Fairness and Freedom" which contrasts the origins and culture of the US with other English-speaking settler colonies, specifically New Zealand.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Adam
  • IRVING, TX, United States
  • 01-17-12

Very good

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • L.
  • 07-22-11

An exceptional audio production!

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Elizabeth
  • Bellevue, WA, United States
  • 07-16-14

A dream to listen to

Fischer's biography of Champlain is a great read and provides further knowledge and insight into the life of this early French explorer. Having spent time in Upstate New York and other New England states as a child, a recognized many of the places described in the book and I enjoyed adding to my historical knowledge of places I've been. I knew little of Champlain prior to reading the book, and I now view him as not only an explorer of lands, but more importantly as an ambassador to a new world. According to Fischer, unlike many of his contemporaries, Champlain went to the new world, and its inhabitants, with open arms, interested in building relationships, not war. There is much we can learn from Champlain and apply to our lives today.

As always, Edward Herrmann's narration is excellent.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • Norwell, MA, USA
  • 05-31-10

A facinating chapter in North American history

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

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great storytelling

A whole new chapter in understanding North American history beyond the more well known English characters and influences.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

Everyone who lives in the North Americas, US & especially Canada, that is interested in early history should listen to this. David Hackett Fischer is an excellent historian, the book is rich in detail yet he weaves it all together to read like a novel. If all the new explorers were like Champlian, how he dealt wisely with the natives, we would probably be still living with multiple Indian nations now rather than having them exterminated as they were.
The narration was excellent.
Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful new insight into important figure

Where does Champlain's Dream rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Near the top of my favorite historical and biographical books.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Come on - it's a biography.

Which character – as performed by Edward Herrmann – was your favorite?

Not much distinction between characters. Although his voice is pleasant as a narrator - clear and understandable - his French pronunciation could have been a lot better.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

If they made a movie of it, they would ruin it.

Any additional comments?

Important and insightful biography of the father of Quebec and one of the most important historical figures in North American history. I grew up in Canada and am embarrassed to learn how little I knew of Champlain from history classes compared to what I learned in this engrossing and entertaining biography. Very well written, good narration, a touching and impactful historical study.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful