Great River

Glen Pitre, Author, Joyce Haynes, Illustrator, Michelle Benoit, With Pelican Publishing Company $19.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-88289-783-7
On April 9, 1682, Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, planted the French flag in the Mississippi delta, thereby extending the empire of New France from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico . Like La Salle's heady dreams of empire, this historical novel falls short. Pitre ( Belizaire the Cajun ) and Benoit fall into the familiar trap of telling too much and showing too little. While the narrative is not quite as dry as a high school history text, the reader is presented with a string of anecdotes chronicling La Salle's early dealings in Canada; his rivalry with his older brother Jean, a Sulpician priest; his return to France to present his plan to the devious Louis XIV; and his adventures on the Mississippi River. Though the Native American viewpoint with which the authors imbue the narrative is new and welcome, it nevertheless fails to animate the novel. In the end, the story and the characters remain remote. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 07/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
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