Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson
Written by Mark Bourrie
Published by Biblioasis
Readers of Mark Bourrie’s Bush Runner might well wonder if Jonathan Swift at his edgiest has been at work. This over-the-top narrative connects Canadian fur traders with three European royal courts, mixes in Indigenous political intrigues and family alliances among the Five Nations and French settlers, and adds Jesuits, cannibalism, and the Great Fire of London. To top it off, there’s the impact of the beaver hat and the buffalo on the entire Western world! In Bourrie’s telling, the picaresque Pierre Radisson, a humane con artist of heroic stamina and fluid loyalties, was the fulcrum of four centuries of Canadian centrality in the forging of modern Western civilizations. Who knew?
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Radisson, known to some as the first European to explore the upper Mississippi is also “an eager hustler with no known scruples.” He double-crossed the English, French, Dutch, as well as his adoptive Mohawk family, in dealings that ultimately led to the founding of the Hudson’s Bay Company.
Mark Bourrie has written numerous books including Kill the Messengers: Stephen Harper’s Assault on Your Right to Know, a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of 2015. He has been a staff reporter for the Hamilton Spectator and currently teaches history at Carleton University as well as Canadian Studies at University of Ottawa.