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Emperor of the North

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Overview

At its height in the nineteenth century, the Hudson's Bay Company's trading territory covered three million square miles and spanned the continent. And no one person was more responsible for its success than its larger-than-life governor, the remarkable George Simpson. The illegitimate son of a ne'er-do-well Scottish lawyer, Simpson was a master planner who laid the foundations for the greatest business enterprise of its day, a pompous dandy who was most at home in a canoe, and a man who, while ashamed of his ...

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Overview

At its height in the nineteenth century, the Hudson's Bay Company's trading territory covered three million square miles and spanned the continent. And no one person was more responsible for its success than its larger-than-life governor, the remarkable George Simpson. The illegitimate son of a ne'er-do-well Scottish lawyer, Simpson was a master planner who laid the foundations for the greatest business enterprise of its day, a pompous dandy who was most at home in a canoe, and a man who, while ashamed of his out-of-wedlock birth, sired at least thirteen children with eight different women.

A wide cast of characters strides through the pages of this gripping story—frontier entrepreneurs, hardy voyageurs, skilled native trappers, intrepid explorers, impoverished settlers, and lords and ladies of the realm—and George Simpson was at home with all of them. The history of the Bay is that of a country in the making, but it is also a history of the clash between different ways of life in a vast, sparsely populated land far from the crowded cities, counting-houses and imperial ambitions of the British Empire.

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Editorial Reviews

Globe & Mail (Toronto)
A significant contribution to the ever-evolving saga of nineteenth-century North America.
The Globe and Mail
“Raffan has made a significant contribution to the ever-evolving saga of 19th-century North America.”
The Walrus
Raffan handles his history admirably . . . . An unflinching yet sympathetic look at an important nation-builder.
Farley Mowat
With this book, James Raffan joins the ranks of Pierre Berton and Peter C. Newman.
Ken McGoogan
Raffan has spun the fetid straw of [George Simpson’s] life into a golden book.
The Beaver
A balanced, well-documented, yet engaging and colourful story.
Peter C. Newman
. . . A wonderful read to be treasured . . . one of those rare books you don’t want to finish.
Globe and Mail (Toronto)
A significant contribution to the ever-evolving saga of nineteenth-century North America.
Farley Mowat
With this book, James Raffan joins the ranks of Pierre Berton and Peter C. Newman.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062026651
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/14/2010
  • Pages: 484
  • Sales rank: 777,377
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

James Raffan is one of our foremost authorities on the North, the wilderness and the canoeing tradition. He is the author of Fire in the Bones, the acclaimed bestselling biography of Bill Mason; Bark, Skin and Cedar: Exploring the Canoe in Canadian Experience; and Deep Waters. He is also the editor of Rendezvous with the Wild: The Boreal Forest and The Lure of Faraway Places. Raffan is a fellow and former governor of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and has served as chair of the Arctic Institute of North America. A recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal, he is the curator of the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough. He lives in Seeley's Bay, Ontario.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 11, 2012

    Think Twice

    Think twice before purchasing this book. I made it to chapter XII before I had to give it up. This is not really an in-depth look at the workings of the Hudson's Bay Company. Rather, it is a biography of Sir George Simpson. Simpson may have lead an interesting life, but he was not an especially interesting man. And I did not find this be an especially interesting book. If you are looking for a book that is easy to read and hard to put down, this one is not it.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

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