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David Thompson on the Columbia Plateau
by Jack Nisbet
Complex, headstrong, curious, and resourceful, David Thompson is a hero in Canada, yet has remained largely unknown in the United States. Between 1801 and 1812, this fur trader, explorer, and cartographer established two viable trade routes across the Rocky Mountains in Canada and systematically surveyed the entire 1,250-mile course of the Columbia River. In succeeding years he distilled his mathematical notations from dozens of journal notebooks into the first accurate maps of the nortwest quadrant of North America. Information from some of his earlier mapwork was even used by the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Author Jack Nisbet utilizes fresh research to convey how Thompson experienced the full sweep of the human and natural history etched across the Columbia drainage. He places Thompson's movements within the larger contexts of the European Enlightenment, the British fur trade economy, and American expansion as represented by Lewis and Clark. Packed with illustrations, photographs, and maps, 'The Mapmaker's Eye' is a fascinating chronicle of Thompson's life and adventures, especially in the Columbia country.
Softcover: 179 pages