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Posted April 19, 2010
1800's living in the Wilderness of Canada
An exciting and very interesting historical book about the early fur trade and life in the 1800's. Some of the names were changed and/or created to enhance the storyline. "The Trade" begins in 1822 Canada where beaver were the key to success for any group, white, Indian, or half-breed. The times and living were very crude. Rum consumption was the key ingredient in most lives making some crueler than they would normally be and in some situations, the actions furthered by the rum made far too many so "out of it" that they went as far as to kill in that out-of-mind rum mindset. There was a Governor in charge of the area appointed by Great Britain but he was so out of touch from his superiors that his superiors rarely knew his actions. The Governor traveled around from camp to fort to groups throughout the area and he was law. He made appointments as to who would be the leader of certain areas called the Chief Trader. The Chief Trader was law unless the Governor was in camp when, in most situations, he would stay clear of the Governor.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The Hudson Bay Company had recently taken over the North West Company and when joined, the combined companies had too many workers and had to find ways to trim jobs. Beaver were getting more scarce every year making the expeditions exploring areas out from the forts go farther and meeting more aggression from those they found in the newer areas.
The author created some real fascinating characters in the story, some that made friends for life, or so they thought, took a wife or two or more in several occasions producing children that had a father but who he was they never knew. These men were physically very crude and mentally, highly challenged with too much time alone or with others that never spoke unless it was a threat to kill, hurt, or maim. Many, especially the Indians and half-breeds, cut themselves on purpose in many areas of their bodies just to look fiercer. Several who appeared throughout the book were Ted Harriott, One Pound One, Jimmy Jock Bird, their wives, their children, and of course, the Governor. The book takes them on their travels in the entire area over the course of many years, tells of their aging, their mental state, their desire to be Chief Trader in most cases, and their love as well as their hatred of those wives.
I learned so much history reading The Trade both with how people lived and existed in those days and their general lack of concern of any fellow human being. You travel in all types of weather with many obstacles, both human and animal, and cringe at how they did survive, if one can call it surviving!