December 01, 2011
Fur, Fortune and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America, by Eric Jay Dolin. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 2010.
Fur, Fortune and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America is an exciting story of American history. Under author Eric Dolin's authority, the subject of hunting and marketing furs makes for a strong narrative. As the author's introduction suggests, movie-like characters populate frontier history and make its fur-hunting aspect a popular dramatic subject. He crafts a compelling book that shows men who left ordinary lives to plunge head-on into the woods with rifles and traps, and not much more. Relations with Indian tribes are important and the author offers many stories about encounters (both friendly and hostile) with the fur traders. St. Louis also plays an important part in the history of the fur trade, and that is reflected in this book. Fur, Fortune and Empire will certainly add to the understanding of how the fur trade played an integral part of the story of the American West.