First Across The Continent

Overview

Seeking the Northwest Passage and the fabled like to Russia, Japan, and Cathay, Alexander Mackenzie drove himself and his men relentlessly, by canoe and portage, across the uncharted rivers, valleys, and mountains of North America. Mackenzie's 1789 journey to the Arctic Ocean and his arduous journey to the Pacific in 1793 predate the Lewis and Clark expedition. By the age of thirty-one Alexander Mackenzie had become the first man to cross North America from the northwestern hub of the interior trade, Lake ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (14) from $3.10   
  • New (6) from $11.75   
  • Used (8) from $3.10   
Sending request ...

Overview

Seeking the Northwest Passage and the fabled like to Russia, Japan, and Cathay, Alexander Mackenzie drove himself and his men relentlessly, by canoe and portage, across the uncharted rivers, valleys, and mountains of North America. Mackenzie's 1789 journey to the Arctic Ocean and his arduous journey to the Pacific in 1793 predate the Lewis and Clark expedition. By the age of thirty-one Alexander Mackenzie had become the first man to cross North America from the northwestern hub of the interior trade, Lake Athabasca in present-day northern Alberta, to the Pacific Ocean. He had opened the continent to trade and exploration.

Mackenzie was a man of enormous ego and overpowering ambition. He left Scotland in search of opportunity in the North American fur trade and achieved success through a combination of bold exploits, grim determination, and business acumen. Mackenzie returned to his homeland late in life to be knighted, marry, and live a more genteel life, leaving behind a Métis family in North America. His celebrated book Voyages from Montreal remains an enduring classic of world travel literature.

In his research, Barry Gough traveled from Mackenzie's birthplace to his tomb and from Montreal to the Arctic Ocean and to the Pacific. He takes the reader along with Mackenzie on his hazardous travels and voyages, using contemporary accounts to bring to life the problems and perils faced by the young explorer.

First Across the Continent reveals the international impact of Sir Alexander Mackenzie's expeditions and places him among the elite of New World explorers, illuminating his vital role in the history of the fur trade and the American West.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A well-crafted biography of a little-remembered explorer of the Far North who helped open the frontier to trade and settlement.

Gough (History/Wilfrid Laurier Univ., Ontario) charts the life of Scottish-born explorer Alexander Mackenzie, who from 1789 to 1793 worked his way along the rivers and mountain ranges of Canada in search of the fabled Northwest Passage. He did not find that geographical chimera, but he did locate the vast river that now bears his name, map the lower reaches of the western Canadian Arctic, and eventually reach the Pacific Ocean—a full decade, Gough patriotically remarks, before Lewis and Clark made their famous crossing of North America. Mackenzie, whom Gough calls "a northern Sinbad," did not strictly have the interests of the British Crown in mind when he undertook his mission; driven from Scotland by poverty, he organized a fur-trading company whose itinerant employees expanded our knowledge of remote places and people—but who viewed these newfound territories as "important peripheries of business relationships tied to the banking and warehousing interests of Montreal and New York." These early global capitalists were less tied to national loyalties than they were to their companies, Gough writes, and they fought bitterly among themselves. Mackenzie's chief rival was another Scot, Thomas Douglas, the fifth earl of Selkirk, who sought to break the hold of the fur traders and introduce a farming economy in the Canadian north. Selkirk eventually carried the day. Broken in business, Mackenzie returned to Scotland, where he was knighted for his labors and died in 1820 of chronic nephritis. He is remembered in Canadian history largely through the many places that bear his name.

Gough's careful biography affords readers of North American history a detailed and welcome view of this important and too often overlooked explorer.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806130026
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 9/5/2000
  • Series: Oklahoma Western Biographies Series
  • Pages: 260
  • Sales rank: 1,105,589
  • Product dimensions: 0.59 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Barry Gough, Professor of History, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, is the author of a dozen books and many articles on American, British, and Canadian frontiers and exploration, including The Northwest Coast: British Navigation, Trade, and Discoveries to 1812.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)