Champlain's Dream by David Hackett Fischer

Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by Gary, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. Gary

    Gary En-Route

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    A hefty book weighing in at 531 pages of text and another 250+ of references and short historical essays.

    A very richly described history of the life and times of Samuel de Champlain. Covers the time period of ~1580 to ~1635. I had not fully realized the extent of the French exploration of the new world. I was sort of aware that much of eastern Canada and northeastern US had a French background, but never understood the how's and why's. This book really does a wonderful job of detailing how the French explorers set out for the new world and how their methods differed vastly from the Spanish and British explorers. The history is well told with many eye-witness references and a very readable pace. The author kept my interest and made me look forward to how the story would turn out in the end.

    Champlain was quite the "rounded" man, capable of hobnobing with French aristocrats, sea captains, merchants, settlers, and native american's, all the while maintaining a sense of purpose, ethics and fairness to all who came in contact with him. The sections on the founding of Montreal, Quebec and Trois Rivieres, were to me, the most interesting. Spent some time in Trois Rivieres on a project and had seen the statue dedicated to him, now I know the history behind it.

    Champlain's attitude toward the local native population was quite the departure from other countries ways. Champlain did his utmost to live in harmony with the locals and, foster peace between the (usually) warring tribes. His success lived long after his death. I was quite surprised to learn that much of the cultures of Quebec, Acadia and Metis were of his doing.

    The author intersperses an excellent history of the political events in France during Champlain's lifetime and how this affected the development of settements in North America, particularly the help given by Henri IV and the coniving of Cardinal Richelieu.

    Perhaps Champlain's success did influence later French leaders to support the early american movement against the British.

    Quite a fun book to read.

    Gary
     
  2. John J

    John J Line Up and Wait

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    Gary;

    Very nice review, I would be interrested in learning more about the book. When it was published etc. Would like to read it.
    Sorry I have not responded earlier but have been fixing home and taking care of a dear relative.

    I am very much an avid reader of early explorers of that time period.

    Thank you

    John J