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Selkirk: A Life

Lord Selkirk: A Life

by J. M. Bumsted

University of Manitoba Press
November 2008
Hardcover 500 pp 6 x 9
Bibliography & Index

“This is the work of a scholar at the top of his game.
There is not going to be a better biography of Selkirk in a very long time.”

Robin Fisher, Mount Royal College
Author of Vancouvers Voyage: Charting the Northwest Coast

Thomas Douglas, the Fifth Earl of Selkirk (1770-1820), was a complex man of his times, whose passions left an indelible mark on Canadian history. A product of the Scottish Enlightenment and witness to the French Revolution, he dedicated his fortune and energy to the vision of a new colony at the centre of North America. His final legacy, the Red River Settlement, led to the eventual end of the dominance of the fur trade and began the demographic and social transformation of western Canada.

The product of three decades of research, this is the definitive biography of Lord Selkirk. Bumsted’s passionate prose and thoughtful analysis illuminate not only the man, but also the political and economic realities of the British empire at the turn of the nineteenth century. He analyzes Selkirk’s position within these realities, showing how his paternalistic attitudes informed his “social experiments” in colonization and translated into unpredictable, and often tragic, outcomes. Bumsted also provides extensive detail on the complexities of colonization, the Scottish Enlightenment, Scottish peerage, the fur trade, the Red River settlement, and early British-Canadian politics.

J. M. Bumsted is the author of many books on Canadian history, including The Peoples Clearance, The Fur Trade Wars, The Red River Rebellion, Reporting the Resistance, and the widely used textbook, A History of the Canadian Peoples.

Lord Selkirk: A Life will be published this fall by the University of Manitoba Press, and launched at a ceremony on 16 November, to which all are welcome:

Sunday, 16 November 2008, 1:30 PM
Dalnavert Visitors’ Centre
61 Carlton Street, Winnipeg

Books in Manitoba History

Posted: 22 August 2008

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