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Champlain's Dream

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Champlain's Dream Cover

ISBN13: 9781416593324
ISBN10: 1416593322
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Born on France's Atlantic coast, Champlain grew to manhood in a country riven by religious warfare. The historical record is unclear on whether Champlain was baptized Protestant or Catholic, but he fought in France's religious wars for the man who would become Henri IV, one of France's greatest kings, and like Henri, he was religiously tolerant in an age of murderous sectarianism. Champlain was also a brilliant navigator. He went to sea as a boy and over time acquired the skills that allowed him to make twenty-seven Atlantic crossings without losing a ship.

But 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 thirty 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.

Review:

"Fischer, Pulitzer Prize — winner for Washington's Crossing, has produced the definitive biography of Samuel de Champlain (1567 — 1635): spy, explorer, courtier, soldier, sailor, ethnologist, mapmaker, and founder and governor of New France (today's Quebec), which he founded in 1608. This extraordinary and flawed individual was a man of war who dreamed of establishing a peaceful nation in the New World. Fischer once again displays a staggering and wide research, lightly worn, including no fewer than 16 fascinating appendixes covering everything from the 'Indian Nations in Champlain's World, 1603 — 35' to Champlain's preferred firearm. The bibliography is equally impressive, and the same should be said of Fischer's literary skills and approach. He does not have 'a thesis, or a theory, or an ideology,' but instead answers questions ('Who was this man? What did he do? Why should we care?') to weave together his epic story. With 2008 the 400th anniversary of the foundation of New France, the time is ripe for this outstanding work. 16 pages of color photos; b&w photos, maps." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

Samuel de Champlain is little known to most Americans, except as the namesake of a frigid lake. Generally speaking, we're biased against the French and bored by Canada. In school books, France's role in the making of our nation doesn't extend much beyond Lafayette, the French-and-Indian War and the Louisiana Purchase.

So it may surprise American readers that Champlain not only founded... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

About the Author

David Hackett Fischer is University Professor and Warren Professor of History at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. The recipient of many prizes and awards for his teaching and writing, he is the author of numerous books, including Washington's Crossing, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in history.

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Jvstin, December 18, 2008 (view all comments by Jvstin)
Now well known for his Pulitzer Prize winning history, Washington's Crossing, in Champlain's Dream, David Hackett Fischer tackles the father of New France, explorer and colonizer Samuel de Champlain.

Although the volume veers slightly toward hagiography (despite the author's protestations to the contrary), Champlain's Dream is an exhaustive and detailed look at Champlain and his world. Starting with the sociopolitical and religious milieu of southwestern France in the 16th century, and continuing through the book, Fischer gives us an education on the environment in which Champlain grew up. I learned more about 16th and 17th century in this one volume than I have in an entire college course on European history.

The detail on Champlain the man and his actions and history is also similarly comprehensive. Although his admiration for Champlain comes through on every page, Fischer does try to give a balanced look at Champlain and his works. Fischer's thesis is that Champlain, raised in the cosmopolitan town of Brouage, carried a philosophy of tolerance and propensity to America in his relations with the Native American tribes. This multiculturalism and ethos is presented in stark contrast to the experiences of English and especially Spanish America.

Even given the author's obvious admiration for the subject, the biography is very well written, with a command of the language I could only wish was in modern high school and college textbooks. You won't be bored to tears reading about Champlain's adventures as a spy in Spanish colonies, or his explorations of the St. Lawrence Valley, or his attempts to continue to secure funding against competing interests in the Court of the French Kings.

Appendixes to the main text include copious footnotes, a discussion of the true age of Champlain (not clear cut, given the lack of records in the time period), and a discussion of how the biographies and view of Champlain have changed over time.

I enjoyed the volume quite a bit, and strongly recommend this book to all history buffs.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781416593324
Author:
Fischer, David Hackett
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Canada - Pre-Confederation (to 1867)
Subject:
North American
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
History
Subject:
Explorers
Subject:
Explorers -- America.
Subject:
Canada History To 1763 (New France)
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20081014
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
848
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.25 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
History and Social Science » Canada » General

Champlain's Dream Used Hardcover
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$9.50 In Stock
Product details 848 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9781416593324 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Fischer, Pulitzer Prize — winner for Washington's Crossing, has produced the definitive biography of Samuel de Champlain (1567 — 1635): spy, explorer, courtier, soldier, sailor, ethnologist, mapmaker, and founder and governor of New France (today's Quebec), which he founded in 1608. This extraordinary and flawed individual was a man of war who dreamed of establishing a peaceful nation in the New World. Fischer once again displays a staggering and wide research, lightly worn, including no fewer than 16 fascinating appendixes covering everything from the 'Indian Nations in Champlain's World, 1603 — 35' to Champlain's preferred firearm. The bibliography is equally impressive, and the same should be said of Fischer's literary skills and approach. He does not have 'a thesis, or a theory, or an ideology,' but instead answers questions ('Who was this man? What did he do? Why should we care?') to weave together his epic story. With 2008 the 400th anniversary of the foundation of New France, the time is ripe for this outstanding work. 16 pages of color photos; b&w photos, maps." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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