Champlain's Dream

Champlain's Dream

Book - 2008
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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.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, c2008.
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781416593324
Branch Call Number: 971.0113 CHAMPLAI
Characteristics: viii, 834 pages, [8] pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps ; 25 cm.


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Apr 13, 2018

I thought I would have a hard time getting through some 600+ pages of history. Not so, this is absolutely gripping reading. A fascinating insight into the man, and the intricacies of first nations culture and politics during a defining moment in Canada's history.

Dec 31, 2013

I cannot imagine how many hundreds of hours Hackett devoted to creating this great historical work. Champlain should truly be named "the Father and Founding Leader" of Canada. His ability to interact with the original people of this land would put to shame most of those who followed after his death. The indigent people who were "sauvages" meaning forest dwellers was misconstrued to mean savages - those without any humanity! I don't know what is being taught in schools today about early Canada - the 17th century, but I learned nothing of their greatness - only isolated incidences of brutality towards the Invaders of their country. Shame on us! The English, Spaniards and Portugese treated the indigenous people throughout North America without respect for their cultures or lives. Champlain lived his life in such a way that he accepted all people as equals. Jacques Cartier was an adventurer who desecrated these people, took them captive, etc., etc. Without Champlain, the world of New France would have been an entirely different place. He enabled the French immigrants and Indians to live in peace for decades. The ethics of Champlain have long been lost to the goals of avarice, pursuit of power and intrigues that hurt everyone. This is the same world-wide. A truly enlightening book!

arbolito Feb 14, 2013

I had no idea until I read this book what a remarkable person Champlain really was. Brave to the point of reckless and oh so lucky to have survived so many perils. Why is this guy not better known?

Oct 16, 2012

Wow. There is a reason why Champlain is called the Father of Canada and I had no idea how much he deserves this. I have read Cartier's Voyages, and I think we should tear down every monument to Jacques Cartier, who was deplorable to the indigenous people of Canada, and replace them with ones to Champlain. Champlain was amazing and although this book is long and full of detailed references (of which I had to look at every one), I loved it. And I am not a lover of Canadian history books as a rule. Thank you Mr. Fischer, of Mount Desert Island in Maine, for telling us our early Canadian story in such a fascinating way, and with such panache (sorry, ha!) arquebus's and all.

Oct 28, 2011

Absolutely marvellous book. Well written; easy and interesting lesson on Canadian history.

Feb 11, 2011

This is real history, the kind that explores the history that affects what people do. A remarkable study.

Apr 08, 2010

Read this if you want to expand your knowledge of wars of religion in France, early trans-Atlantic travel, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, the St. Lawrence, Quebec, Algonquin, Iroquois and Huron Indians, why the fur trade was so important, the issues involved in founding self-sustaining colonies in the northern Americas, the origins of Cajuns, Metis, and other mixed-race peoples of northern America, and more and more and more. Fantastically interesting book. This is a super biography in the old style: a story of a great man.

Dec 19, 2009

This is a monumental work on an extraordinary man who devoted his life to founding a sustainable settlement in New France. Without Champlain Canada as we know it would certainly be different. He respected the dignity of all peoples, Natives, Europeans and African slaves he met in Spanish colonies. I found this book most interesting. What a giant Champlain was.


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