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The Company by Stephen Bown
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The Company

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The Company by Stephen Bown
Paperback $19.95
Oct 26, 2021 | ISBN 9780385694094

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  • Oct 26, 2021 | ISBN 9780385694094

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  • Oct 27, 2020 | ISBN 9780385694087

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“Absorbing and nuanced . . . . What distinguishes The Company’s popular history is Bown’s highlighting of those dynamic Indigenous polities and, as far as the historical records allow, some key individuals within them. . . . The Simpson era, generally featured as a business triumph in earlier histories, is a more fine-grained and melancholy tale in The Company.” —Maclean’s

“In The Company, Stephen Bown . . . tells the story of the Hudson’s Bay Company with verve and an astringent, contemporary slant. . . . Bown widens the lens to include a more-informed portrait of the peoples and a more-balanced assessment of the HBC’s impact during 200 years of monopoly. . . . The Company is compelling, both as a lively narrative about a corporation that helped shape North American development and as a thoughtful exploration of the complex indigenous cultures that once dominated the continent.” —Wall Street Journal

“A thorough and comprehensive history of the international operation that helped create western Canada, The Company focuses on vivid portraits of the people whose personalities and actions made the Hudson’s Bay Company what it was and what it failed to be. The book seamlessly weaves together a continuous series of often unlikely adventures, bringing to the fore personalities both familiar (George Simpson and Samuel Hearne) and previously slighted (the Chipewyan woman guide and interpreter Thanadelthur, the bilingual intermediary Matonabbee, and the Black translator James Douglas). Written by experienced writer and historian Stephen R. Bown, The Company moves at a fast pace with many intriguing twists and turns. It’s a well-written corporate biography for this generation.” —Eugene Walz, 2021 J.W. Dafoe Book Prize Jury Chair

“It is the story of the HBC as depicted by the people who created it, led it to its success, and then led it to its demise and the end of its monopoly in North America. There is no question that the author has had to fill in blanks not provided by biographies, autobiographies, letters and other records of the players in the HBC drama. Fortunately Bown is a gifted writer who seems to know relevant details of the landscape over which the HBC story unfolded, and over which the people in his story paddled and walked in every season.” —Emőke Szathmáry, 2021 J.W. Dafoe Book Prize Juror

“At a time when the downtown Bay is a white elephant in many Western Canadian cities, this book is a timely reminder of the vast and historic successes—and flaws—of the company and how the recent history of Western Canada is really a corporate one. It is also a reminder of just how adventurous and swashbuckling that recent history actually is, full of weird and admirable and occasionally contemptible colonial characters. This book was, to my surprise, a page-turner and upended many of my vague impressions of the famous men who colonized the west.” —Mary Agnes Welch, 2021 J.W. Dafoe Book Prize Juror

The Company . . . provides a fresh perspective on Canada’s founding myth. In re-telling the story of the Hudson’s Bay Company and its foundational role in the early development of our country, author Stephen Bown highlights the critical role that collaborative relationships with First Nations played in the venture’s earliest success. He also chronicles how competition, political agendas, economic shifts, and personalities converged to disrupt that fragile balance, ultimately contributing to the disenfranchisement of Indigenous people as Canada became a nation.” —National Business Book Award


Dafoe Book Prize WINNER 2021

National Business Book Award WINNER 2021

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