Champlain's Dream

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Simon and Schuster, Oct 14, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 848 pages
2 Reviews
Winner of the Pritzker Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing

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.
 

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Champlain' Dream

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Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Fischer's magnificent account of the life and times of French explorer Samuel de Champlain, founder of Quebec, provides a signal analysis of his dream of peaceful ... Read full review

Contents

IntRoDUCtIon
1
A Child of Brouage
15
two Men of saintonge
30
and Champlain
42
A soldier in Brittany 159498
61
A spy in new spain 15991601
74
Geographer in the Louvre 1602
105
tadoussac 1603
124
The Cardinals Ring 162527
388
new France Lost 162829
406
new France Regained 162932
427
Realizing the Dream 163235
445
The Peopling of Quebec 163235
465
The Cradle of Acadia 163235
479
troisRivières 163435
495
Champlains Last Labor 1635
512

sainteCroix 160405
148
norumbega 160406
174
PortRoyal 160507
201
Quebec 160809
227
Iroquoia 160910
254
Marie de Medici 161011 281 transatlantic trials 161115
292
Huronia 161516
317
The Court of Louis XIII 161619
345
A Framework for new France 162024
366
ConCLUsIon
525
MeMoRIes oF CHAMPLAIn
533
APPenDIXes
569
notes
635
Bibliography
745
Map sources
787
Acknowledgments
797
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

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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