A Savage Empire: Trappers, Traders, Tribes, and the Wars That Made America

Alan Axelrod. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $25.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-312-57656-1
Freelance historian Axelrod (What Every American Should Know About American History) offers a unique take on our country’s origins by exploring the bloody history of fur trading, an industry that affected not only fashion but the fate of a nation. As the fur craze swept through Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries, conflict escalated across the Atlantic as Spanish, Dutch, French, English, and Native American tribes sought to dominate the market and preserve their claims on what colonizers dubbed the New World, and indigenous peoples called home. Mapping the complicated milieu of alliances forged and broken, Axelrod plots the various forces that led to the Beaver Wars and eventually set the stage for the American Revolution. While thoroughly researched and lucidly composed, Axelrod lacks the narrative flair necessary to make his book appeal to general audiences. As such, this work of niche history is best left to early American academics. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 08/15/2011
Release date: 12/06/2011
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4299-9070-7
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