Pathfinders of the West
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Media: DATA CD - 1 CD
Author: A. Laut
Year: (1904) 2004
Publisher: Archive CD Books Canada
The author, Agnes Christiana Laut (1871-1936) was a well known and respected Canadian author on the subject of the discovery of the area of North America to the west of the great lakes. In this book she concentrates on the voyages of some of the earliest explorers (C. mid 1600s), those whom Agnes calls Pathfinders: Pierre Esprit Radisson, M. de la Vérendrye, Samuel Hern, Sir Alexander Mackenzie and the team of Lewis and Clark. The majority of the voyages of discovery described at least start in Canada but describe areas which are now on both sides to the US - Canada border. The Lewis & Clark expedition, of course, took place mainly in US territory.
An excellent book for those who want to get a feel of what it was like to venture into a vast unknown area with only your wits and skills to rely on. An adventure few of us today could undertake. 380 pages with 61 illustrations including some very early photographs.
This book will also be a valuable source of material concerning the Hudson's Bay Company, the fur trade and the personal and political relationships between the various authorities, European and First Nations based, and the individual explorers.
In her Foreword Agnes makes a spirited defense of her omission of the voyages of Marquette, Jolliet and La Salle claiming they did not make discoveries only followed in the footsteps of the true Pathfinders.
Agnes writing style makes this an easy and interesting read, more like an adventure story than an historical account. She paints vivid characters of the people she is writing about be they rugged pioneer, native North American or duty bound officer. Readers not familiar with the mores or morality of 100 years ago may be somewhat surprised at the attitudes and concepts which form a basis for Agnes' storytelling style. This, in it's own right, is an interesting social commentary.
There is a valuable appendix containing reprints of important letters and official dispatches (some translated) dating from the 15th and 16th century.
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