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The Upper Country

'The Upper Country' cover image

The Upper Country

French Enterprise in the Colonial Great Lakes

The Upper Country melds myth and conventional history to provide a memorable tale of French designs in the middle of what became the United States. Putting the reader on the battlefields, at the trading posts, and on the rivers with voyageurs and their allies from the Indian nations, Claiborne Skinner reveals the saintly missionaries and jolly fur traders of popular myth as agents of a hard-nosed, often ruthless, imperial endeavor.

Skinner’s engaging narrative takes the reader through daily life at posts like Forts Saint Louis and Michilimakinac, illuminates the complexities of interracial marriage with the courtship of Michel Aco at Peoria, and explains how France's New World adventurism played a role in the outbreak of the Seven Years War and the beginning of the modern era.

In this story, many of the traditional heroes and villains of American history take on surprising roles. The last Stuart kings of England seem shrewd and even human; George Washington makes his debut appearance on the stage of history by assassinating a French officer and plunging Europe into the first truly global war.

From unthinkable hardship to dreams of fur trade profits, this fascinating exploration sheds new light on France and its imperial venture into the Great Lakes.