Book, Fortune's A River

Product Number: 9781550174595

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The Collisions of Empires in Northwest America: How British Columbia became British and Oregon, Washington and Alaska became American.
In Fortune's a River, noted historian Barry Gough re-examines this Imperial struggle for possession of the future British Columbia and fully evokes its peculiar drama. It turned out the great powers were reluctant conquerors in this area. Russia and Spain withdrew of their own accord. Britain was in a position to dominate, but couldn't be bothered. The US vaguely wished to fulfill its manifest destiny by securing the Northwest Coast, but it was not a priority. In the end the battle was carried on by private enterprise and individuals of vision. Alexander Mackenzie established an overland route to the coast and with his partners Simon Fraser and David Thompson, set up a network of fur trading forts south to Oregon. US president Thomas Jefferson countered by sending out the Lewis and Clark expedition to strengthen American claims and an American entrepreneur, John Jacob Astor, established a lonely US outpost at Astoria. Gough examines each of the players in this territorial drama, bringing them fully to life and vividly recounting their hardships and struggles. Fortune's a River is a major historical work that reads like a wild west adventure.
Prize(s): Short-listed Finalist for the Nereus Writers' Trust Non-fiction Award (2008), Short-listed Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize, BC Book Prize (2008)

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