The bestseller from James Raffan, Emperor of the North tells the story of Sir George Simpson, whose extraordinary life coincided with the success of one of the greatest commercial empires in history: the Hudson’s Bay Company, a vast trading venture that became the world’s oldest continuous commercial enterprise.
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At its height in the nineteenth century, the Hudson's Bay Company's trading territory covered three million square miles and spanned the continent. And no one person was more responsible for its success than its larger-than-life governor, the remarkable George Simpson. The illegitimate son of a ne'er-do-well Scottish lawyer, Simpson was a master planner who laid the foundations for the greatest business enterprise of its day, a pompous dandy who was most at home in a canoe, and a man who, while ashamed of his out-of-wedlock birth, sired at least thirteen children with eight different women.
A wide cast of characters strides through the pages of this gripping story—frontier entrepreneurs, hardy voyageurs, skilled native trappers, intrepid explorers, impoverished settlers, and lords and ladies of the realm—and George Simpson was at home with all of them. The history of the Bay is that of a country in the making, but it is also a history of the clash between different ways of life in a vast, sparsely populated land far from the crowded cities, counting-houses and imperial ambitions of the British Empire.About the Author:
James Raffan is one of our foremost authorities on the North, the wilderness and the canoeing tradition. He is the author of Fire in the Bones, the acclaimed bestselling biography of Bill Mason; Bark, Skin and Cedar: Exploring the Canoe in Canadian Experience; and Deep Waters. He is also the editor of Rendezvous with the Wild: The Boreal Forest and The Lure of Faraway Places. Raffan is a fellow and former governor of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and has served as chair of the Arctic Institute of North America. A recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal, he is the curator of the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough. He lives in Seeley's Bay, Ontario.
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