- Paperback: 864 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Canada; Second Printing edition (Oct. 7 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 030739767X
- ISBN-13: 978-0307397676
- Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 4.6 x 23.4 cm
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 Kg
- Average Customer Review: 39 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #34,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Champlain's Dream Paperback – Oct 7 2009
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"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. Fischer once again displays a staggering and wide research, lightly worn…. [I]mpressive … literary skills and approach…. With …the 400th anniversary of the foundation of New France, the time is ripe for this outstanding work."
— Publisher's Weekly
“David Hackett Fischer is in that ethereal category of biographers who can climb into the soul of his subject, look out of that individual’s eyes and report back on what he sees…. [Fischer] delivers a marvellous read with Champlain’s Dream. His research is prodigious, and so is his writing talent…. This timely and beautifully written book, published in the 400th anniversary year of the founding of Quebec, is likely to be unsurpassed in its treatment of Champlain for a long time. Fischer has made Champlain wonderfully human — and that is the greatest compliment a biographer can earn.”
— The Calgary Herald
“A massive yet accessible biography.”
— Washington Times
“Fischer’s work should make it impossible to ignore Champlain’s contributions henceforth.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Narrating Champlain’s activities in North America is where Fischer excels, both in his chronicle of events and his analysis of Champlain’s leadership, political and commercial backing, and diplomacy with the native peoples. Fischer’s comprehensive, incisive portrayal will enthrall.”
“Champlain’s Dream is a book every Canadian should own.”
— National Post
“With Fischer’s Champlain’s Dream, all earlier biographies … no longer serve any useful purpose. This is a massive, scholarly work, logically organized and clearly written as befits a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian…. Fischer goes through the rest of Champlain’s life in admirable detail.”
— The Globe and Mail
“Champlain’s Dream puts flesh and bones on the enigmatic figure who played a seminal role in the development of our half of North America…. The delights are in the details…. Champlain’s Dream is a worthy addition to [Champlain’s] legacy.”
— The Gazette (Montreal)
“A major new biography of Champlain does full justice, and then some, to the founder of Quebec City…. Fischer spins a rich, vivid tale of the soldier, spy, master mariner, explorer, cartographer and artist…. This is a terrific book.”
— Toronto Star
“Fischer’s stated goal of writing the definitive story of Champlain’s life has definitely been achieved…. This is an incredibly in-depth biography full of rich detail and painstaking research.”
— Quill and Quire
“A book that leaves no stone unturned…. [Fischer] succeeds brilliantly in analyzing the man and his motives…. A balanced and insightful exploration of the internal geography of a larger-than-life figure.”
— The Chronicle Herald (Halifax)
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
David Hackett Fischer, University Professor at Brandeis University, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for Washington’s Crossing, which was also a New York Times bestseller. His other acclaimed books include Albion’s Seed and Paul Revere’s Ride.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
My only disappointment is that this inspiring biography of the Father of New France was not written by a Canadian!
Most highly recommended. I support the review by the National Post: "A book every Canadian should own".
David Hackett Fischer is definitely well-read about the colonial period and his subject, no doubt about it. In a bit more than 600 pages Fischer reveals his quest for Champlain's wisdom in bringing about the first European settlements into being in the North American wilderness. His writing is clear and precise, with some interesting insights into the problems faced by Indians-European relationship at that time. He grips his reader and doesn't let go.
The heroic life of Champlain and his remarkable work in founding "La Nouvelle France" put into contrast two models of development in North America. One based on exclusion and violence, a path far too often chosen by the first English, Spanish, and Dutch explorers and colonists. The other, Champlain's, implies a behaviour which aims actively at respect for others, natives and Europeans alike, according to Christian principles.
Such a vision upon which Champlain devoted his entire life shows a man far beyond compare. Coupled with his sense of reality shaped by decades of soldiery and leadership, Champlain was an empire-builder unlike so many others. His profound humility, disdain of violence, active rejection of abuse and exploitation along with other attributes such as soldier, geographer, ethnologist, diplomat, and chronicler made him the finest character. Someone that Canada should be proud of.
On a side note, I'd like to stress the point that Fischer's knowledge of French is really impressive. As a French native speaker I could only admire, eyes wide open, how competent Fischer (an American!) is in rendering his translation in modern English of the old French texts. Actually some English Canadian historians working on Canadian history should be inspired by the determination to give further qualitative content and meaning to their own work when reading Fischer's book - and rightly so.
Now, on the four hundreth anniversary of the founding of Nouvelle France, Fischer has produced the definitive biography of Samuel de Champlain. The historical field in many countries has fragmented into many sub-sectors, sometimes into highly esoteric areas. While this has allowed many explorations of social and cultural aspects of Canada's development, the sad reality is that contemporary Canadian historians have generally failed to present the 'big picture' and to explore the character of Canada's leaders and the development of its institutions. Instead, it took an American to write this story of Champlain's Vision.
The preceding does not take anything away from Fischer's accomplishment. This is a massive but marvellouslly-written biography, which makes Champlain's successes and failure understable. Champlain's life, his plans for Nouvelle France, the explorations, his time as governer, and the diplomatic efforts with Native Americans are carefully laid out. Remembering his audience, Fischer narrative flows, sometimes seeming like a grand novel.
Go to your nearest online bookstore and order. This is a good one and Canada is the beneficiary.
First off, Fischer's ability to put together source material into a coherent and compelling narrative is nothing short of brilliant. The book reads like a novel with Champlain as the central character. Yes, at times, you can sense a bit of Stockholm syndrome, hero worship, but the writing is so fluid and exciting that anyone can appreciate it regardless of its historiographical content.
Overall, I can see no reason why anyone would not want to purchase this book. It is a fantastic piece of writing, of history, of fantasy becomes reality. I think Fischer has another award-winning book on his hands, and he deserves it.
Champlain is illuminated as a fascinating person, patriot, Christian, navigator, explorer, trader, cartographer, botanist and most of all-leader and visionary. By Herculean perseverance-against all odds- he accomplished so much- his precise and detailed maps and the founding settlements of Canada in 1608, and all this with a humility that is unmatched in other great men of history.