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Francis Parkman (18231893), struggling against painful chronic illnesses and very largely self-taught in his field, was not only a pioneering historian but an enduring one. His monumental seven-volume history of discovery, conquest, and empire-building in the New World, France and England in North America (the final volume, Montcalm and Wolfe, is...
Francis Parkman (18231893), struggling against painful chronic illnesses and very largely self-taught in his field, was not only a pioneering historian but an enduring one. His monumental seven-volume history of discovery, conquest, and empire-building in the New World, France and England in North America (the final volume, Montcalm and Wolfe, is available in its entirety from Da Capo Press/ Perseus Books Group), remains unrivaled for its power, depth, scope, accuracy, and literary artistry. This reader, superbly edited by Samuel Eliot Morison, the Pulitzer Prizewinning historian in the Parkman tradition, comprises approximately one-seventh of the original. Rather than stitch together a patchwork of brief, disconnected extracts, Morison has chosen whole chapters or groups of chapters, thereby allowing the reader to follow a story from start to finish, and what stories they are: Champlain's efforts to establish a French empire in the vast forest wilderness; the torture and martyrdom of Father Jogues; La Salle's western expeditions and his murder by mutineers; the bloody Deerfield Massacre; the improbable, madcap, and successful siege of Louisbourg; the swift, dramatic battle on Quebec's Plains of Abraham, in which the fate of a continent was decided; and much more. The result is both an enthralling portrait of early North American colonial history and an unsurpassed introduction to the works of Francis Parkman.
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