A Savage Empire
Trappers, Traders, Tribes, and the Wars That Made America
By Alan Axelrod
(Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9780312576561, 324pp.)
Publication Date: December 6, 2011
List Price: $34.99*
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A surprising and sweeping history that reveals the fur trade to be the driving force behind conquest, colonization, and revolution in early America
Combining the epic saga of Hampton Sides's Blood and Thunder with the natural history of Mark Kurlansky’s Cod, popular historian Alan Axelrod reveals the astonishingly vital role a small animal—the beaver—played in the creation of our nation. The author masterfully relays a story often neglected by conventional histories: how lust for fur trade riches moved monarchs and men to launch expeditions of discovery, finance massive corporate enterprises, and wage war. Deftly weaving cultural and military narratives, the author chronicles how Spanish, Dutch, French, English, and Native American tribes created and betrayed alliances based on trapping and trade disputes, producing a surprisingly complex series of loyalties that endured throughout the Revolution and beyond.