Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $29.95
  • Save: $5.77 (19%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 6 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Fur, Fortune, and Empire:... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Library discard with usual markings or labels, pages clean no markings
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 10 images

Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 12, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, Deckle Edge
"Please retry"
$24.18
$5.96 $2.01

Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley
"Roots" by Alex Haley
Now in paperback, check out Roots which electrified the nation when it first published forty years ago. Learn more
$24.18 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 6 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America
  • +
  • Birchbark Brigade: A Fur Trade History
  • +
  • The Voyageur
Total price: $60.15
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Who'd think you could write a history of the U.S. centered on three centuries of the trade in furs? Dolin has done so in this spirited tale, although you won't find presidents, treaties, and wars. Instead, the main characters are the Indians, Dutch, French, British, Russians, and Americans who sought wealth and a living in the pelts of fur-bearing animals--beavers especially, but also sea otters, fur seals, and buffalo. Beneath this absorbing story lies the relentless drive (a "lethal wave" in Dolin's words) across the continent. In Dolin's telling, westward expansion wasn't fueled by "manifest destiny" or the thirst for empire but by the chase after animals. People as varied as Peter Stuyvesant, John Jacob Astor, Kit Carson, and the roughhewn "mountain men" play their parts over lands as dispersed as New England and Oregon. By the time animals are driven to near-extinction in the late 19th century, the U.S. is filled in. Neither would have happened without the other. Dolin, author of the acclaimed Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America, offers another good history well told. 16 pages of color and 16 pages of b&w illus.; map.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

A hirsute history of American westward expansion, Dolin’s capacious narrative of hunting and marketing furs partakes of the subject’s vivid adventure and tragedy. Replete with mountain men, middlemen, and Indian tribes, the author’s chronology extends from the Pilgrims’ economic salvation on the back of the beaver to the near extermination of the bison in the late 1800s. As Dolin’s introduction suggests, movielike characters populate frontier history and make its fur-hunting aspect a popular dramatic subject. But strictly dealing with the historical, Dolin synthesizes its abounding bibliography into an engaging and perceptive survey that accents men who plunged into the woods with rifle, trap, and wampum. Their relations with Indian tribes are central here, as exchanges of pelts for guns, alcohol, and more became the cultural interface between the indigenous peoples and the Dutch, English, French, and Americans. Including many incidents of amicable and hostile encounters, Dolin underlines the economic drivers that propelled the trade from the Atlantic to the Pacific. A hearty style of history, Dolin’s work is a great gateway into American history. --Gilbert Taylor
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (July 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393067106
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393067101
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #493,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Arnold TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Eric Jay Dolin, author of Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America, now explores the history of the American fur trade in Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America. I'll be honest, I wasn't crazy about Leviathan - it had an amazing amount of detail, but I felt it was more a collection of anecdotes than a historical analysis. Fur, Fortune, and Empire suffers from similar defects, but also has a more focused narrative. I felt like the book was a typical freshman college report - an A for the amount of effort and research, but a B for the depth of analysis and writing.

First, the book: Fur, Fortune, and Empire follows some of the pivotal events of the American fur trade. While the book claims to cover the period from 1550-1900, in reality it focuses on the early 1600s and early 1800s. Dolin argues that the fur trade was integral to American history, leading to the founding of cities like Springfield, MA (my dad's hometown) and encouraging British settlers to expand into Dutch and French territory. I think Dolin is right about this and makes a good case for the importance of the fur trade in U.S. history. For that alone,
...Read more ›
1 Comment 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
SOFT GOLD. Today furs are often regarded as politically incorrect, and the only mention of beavers is the occasional local newspaper article re the nuisance of a dam to someone's property. However for over 250 years in North America, from the late 1500s to circa 1840, the beaver was a valuable commodity (main market: top hats for European gentlemen), often referred to as "soft gold". Dolin's aptly-titled book persuasively traces the driving force of acquisition of beaver and other furs on U.S. history, from the huge influence on the first colonies of the French (indeed, the fur trade was the primary motivation); British (beaver fur was the Pilgrims' first cash crop); and Dutch. But the influence didn't cease with the colonies. The fur trade also was a major factor in the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812 (and vice-versa--i.e. laws etc. were passed because of the fur trade), and in general drove westward transcontinental expansion.

But there were many other influences. One was that the fur trade was probably the largest factor in defining the final U.S.-Canadian border. Two examples: The border through the middle of 4 of the Great Lakes preserved the (canoe) transport route of furs from the interior of Canada to Montreal; the wagon trains led to the Oregon Territory by the (ex) mountain men swung the balance of power in this co-occupied(U.S. and British)region to the U.S., bringing to the U.S. the land west of the continental divide, north of the Columbia river, and below the 49th parallel (the current state of Washington, the Idaho panhandle, and western Montana).

Dolin has scoured hundreds of sources, summarizing key information in a compelling succinct narrative for the general reader.
Read more ›
Comment 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Eric Dolan is a very good writer who tends to focus on one of my favorite themes: The economics behind the exploration of North America. If you are new to the story of the early Canadian and American fur trade you will find this a quite exceptional starter for further study of this amazing driver of the exploration of the North American continent. Even if you know quite a bit about the fur trade during the early days of our country, there are nuggets here, like fur trading along the eastern seaboard by the Dutch and Puritans or the later sea otter trade in the Pacific Northwest from the 1780 - 1810 by the Boston merchants, that really shine. Dolan has really done his homework on these segments.

Overall, however, if you are already well versed, and the literature is quite encyclopedic, generically speaking there is not much here that is new. But Dolan really does provide a very good jumping off point if you are new to this fascinating subject and his literary style is excellent.

This is a very enjoyable read.
Comment 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This book simply had to be written...and it is a surprise that it took so long. Different authors have attempted to write about the influence of a commercial product in the making of America...eg. rum, but the argument in favor of the beaver, the otter, and later the Buffalo really makes sense. The author tracks the story from early European penetration of the New World to the end of the 19th century when the herds of buffalo were nearly all killed off and the animal rights movement was born. My title for this review comes from the story of the Pilgrims who were almost as interested in the "beaver" for making a living as they were in the "Bible" for choosing how to make life meaningful. But, as the author explains, New England exhausted its fur trade even before the end of the 1600's by excessive trapping. This caused the Native Americans to trade what they had left...their land. A sorry experience for native peoples.

I was pleased with the author's selection of pictures to illustrate the book. The picture that inflamed my humanity was a Harper's Weekly drawing of 1874 which depicted a lone buffalo giving up its skin to a hunter, saying - "Don't shoot, my good fellow! Here, take my 'robe', save your ammunition, and let me go in peace."

The French and Indian Wars (which pre-dated the American Revolution and generated the need for the British Empire to tax the colonists) was fought primarily to control the fur trade. To stir up revolutionary passions, Benjamin Franklin argued to the colonists that this was a conflict between the British and the French, not a conflict involving the Americans.
Read more ›
Comment 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
This item: Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America

Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: commodities