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The Wreck of the Belle, the Ruin of La Salle (Number 48: Centennial Series of the Association of Former Students, Texas A&M University) Hardcover – March 1, 2001


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The Wreck of the Belle, the Ruin of La Salle (Number 48: Centennial Series of the Association of Former Students, Texas A&M University) + The La Salle Expedition to Texas: The Journal of Henri Joutel, 1684-1687
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Product Details

  • Series: Centennial Series of the Association of Former Students, Texas A&M University (Book 88)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Texas A&M University Press; 1st edition (March 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158544121X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585441211
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,656,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Weddle, author of two other tracts on La Salle's adventures, makes use of evidence from the recent (1995) discovery of the wreck of the Belle, one of four vessels brought to America in La Salle's last, ill-fated venture. La Salle, who would have made a great "spin-meister" in our times, never quite got things right, despite his single-minded quests and his self-adulation (his final landing spot was considerably west--in Texas, actually--of where he thought he was). That single-mindedness was what enraged many of his more mortal cohorts and eventually caused one of them to plot and carry out his murder. Likewise, while acknowledging La Salle's bravery and stamina in navigating the Mississippi for the first time from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, the author is scathing in his final judgment of the celebrated explorer, stating that "he failed on all counts: as fur trader, explorer, military leader, and colonizer. Most of all . . . as a human being." Numerous illustrations of the artifacts salvaged from the Belle round out this instructive volume. Allen Weakland
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Robert S. Weddle, a Fellow of the Texas Historical Association, is widely regarded as the dean of Texas colonial historians. Author of La Salle, the Mississippi, and the Gulf: Three Primary Documents and Wilderness Manhunt: The Spanish Search for La Salle, also published by Texas A&M University Press, he is an independent historian with a background in journalism and publishing.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on August 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The Wreck Of The Belle: The Ruin Of La Salle spotlights the discovery of the La Belle shipwreck in Matagorda Bay, along the Texas coast. This late vessel's artifacts provided a treasure trove of archaeological evidence about the famous explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle, and the seventeenth century French colonies that struggled to survive in the New World. Perhaps most fascinating of all, is that The Wreck Of The Belle exposes La Salle's human weaknesses. Not only was he an explorer, empire builder, and historical figure; he was also deceiver, murdered by his own crew, who mistreated his followers and lied to his king. Author Weddle must unravel conflicting accounts and innumerable threads of history to lay out the whole truth of who La Salle was, and what truly happened to him and his ill-fated ship. Recommended for history buffs, and for anyone who is wonders about the real story behind the oft-told legends of the "conquest" of the Americas.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bruno Parfait on April 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The discovery of the Belle did not arouse much interest here(I'm writing from Burgundy but the whole country wasn't much interested either...).
I am among the very few french studying the role of the country in the early exploration of North America and thank American scholars for publishing such works.Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle did seem to have definitely vanished somewhere between historiography and somewhat more concrete Texas lagunas...The mere location of the ship was already a miracle and the job done afterwards another one...that might have deserved more precisions in the narrative as well as in the chronological approach of the facts.As it is , this book is nonetheless compulsory reading for all those fascinated by one of the strangest dreamers of all times.
Bruno Parfait
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Charles Schamenek on July 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I live in Texas and have read in the news about the discovery of the Belle, and LaSalle's adventures. I have also visited France many times, and I was looking for a good book to send to my French friends. Not this book. I've only read half of it, and then I gave up. It is a very hard read. Sometimes it reads like a history book or narrative, sometimes it reads like a commentary on history, and sometimes it reads like an editorial, with comments made on other historians. To the extent that it is a history book, it does not always appear to discuss events chronologically. It's hard to tell sometimes because it is such a hard read - hard to follow. It appears that the author skips around a lot, and there is not a good flow to the writing. Also, there was very little in this book on the recent discovery of the Belle.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rough Customer VINE VOICE on September 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I agree with Charles from Houston. I am also a Texan and am very interested in the wreck of the La Belle and Fort Saint Louis. The author of this book, though obviously extremely knowledgable about French colonial era doings of La Salle, spends way too much ink on the trivial things of his life..from religion, politics, who was with him when, what each person said, where everyone went and why, etc. I had hoped for a more in depth look at the shipwreck and the marooning of the La Salle party, how they survived, etc. I agree the author skips around too much, does not stay in chronological order, and concerns too much of the book with things barely related to the timeframe of the wreck of the Belle ship. If you are another Texan and looking for info on the Belle, this isn't it.
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Format: Hardcover
La Salle's miscalculation was expecting to discover the mouth of the Mississippi along the Texas coast. Robert Weddle discloses the many disasters in this chronicle of one man's failure to accomplish his quest to claim for France the vast wealth of New World. In "The Wreck of the Belle, the Ruin of La Salle" we are brought face to face to the struggles of surviving starvation, savage attacks, and devastating conditions by men unprepared for what they would encounter in the wilderness of the Texas coast.
La Salle's birth year is an error misprinted at the beginning of the second chapter in my hardcover edition.
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