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Library of America Francis Parkman Edition

Francis Parkman
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Library of America Francis Parkman Edition : Titles in Order

Book 3
“From boyhood,” wrote Francis Parkman, “I had a taste for the woods and the Indians.” This Library of America volume, containing The Oregon Trail and The Conspiracy of Pontiac, brilliantly demonstrates this lifelong fascination. His first book, The Oregon Trail, is a vivid account of his frontier adventures and his encounters with Plains Indians in their final era of nomadic life. The Conspiracy of Pontiac and the Indian War after the Conquest of Canada, Parkman’s first historical work, portrays the fierce conflict that erupted along the Great Lakes in the aftermath of the Seven Years’ War and chronicles the defeats in which the eastern Native American tribes “received their final doom.”

The Oregon Trail (1849) opens on a Missouri River steamboat crowded with traders, gamblers, speculators, Oregon emigrants, “mountain men,” and Kansas Indians. In his search for Natives untouched by white culture, Parkman meets the Whirlwind, a Sioux chieftain, and follows him through the Black Hills. His descriptions of natives’ buffalo hunts, feasts and games, feuds, and gift-giving derive their intensity from his awareness that he was recording a vanishing way of life. Praised by Herman Melville for its “true wild-game flavor,” The Oregon Trail is a classic tale of adventure that celebrates the rich variety of life Parkman found on the frontier and the immensity and grandeur of America’s western landscapes.

In The Conspiracy of Pontiac (1851), Parkman chronicles the consequences of the French defeat in Canada for the eastern Native American tribes. At the head of the Native American resistance to the Anglo-American advance in the 1760s was the daring Ottawa leader Pontiac, whose attacks on the frontier forts and settlements put in doubt the continuation of western expansion. A powerful narrative of battles and skirmishes, treaties and betrayals, written with eloquence and fervor and filled with episodes of heroism and endurance, The Conspiracy of Pontiac captures the spirit of a tragic and tumultuous age.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 2
This is the second of two Library of America volumes (the companion volume here) presenting, in compact form, all seven parts of Francis Parkman’s monumental narrative history of the struggle for control of the American continent. Thirty years in the writing, Parkman’s “history of the American forest” is an accomplishment hardly less awesome than the explorations and adventures he so vividly describes. The story reaches its climax with the fatal confrontation of two great commanders at Quebec’s Plains of Abraham—and a daring stratagem that would determine the future of a continent.

Count Frontenac and New France under Louis XIV (1877) details how France might have won her imperial struggle with England. Frontenac, a courtier who was made governor of New France by that most sagacious of monarchs, oversaw the colony’s brightest era of growth and influence. Had Canada’s later governors possessed his administrative skill and personal force, his sense of diplomacy and political talent, or his grasp of the uses of power in a modern world, the English colonies to the south might have become part of what Frontenac saw as a continental scheme of French dominion.

England’s American colonies flourished, while France, in both the Old World and the New, declined from its greatness of the late seventeenth century. Conflict over the developing western regions of North America erupted in a series of colonial wars. As narrated by Parkman in A Half-Century of Conflict (1892), these American campaigns, while only part of a larger, global struggle, prepared the colonies for the American Revolution.

In Montcalm and Wolfe (1884) Parkman describes the fatal confrontation of the two great French and English commanders whose climactic battle marked the end of French power in America. As the English colonies cooperated for their own defense, they began to realize their common interests, their relative strength, and their unique position. In this imperial war of European powers we also begin to see the American figures—Benjamin Franklin, George Washington—soon to occupy a historical stage of their own.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 1
This Library of America volume, along with its companion, presents, for the first time in compact form, all seven titles of Francis Parkman’s monumental account of France and England’s imperial struggle for dominance on the North American continent. Deservedly compared as a literary achievement to Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Parkman’s accomplishment is hardly less awesome than the explorations and adventures he so vividly describes.

Pioneers of France in the New World (1865) begins with the early and tragic settlement of the French Huguenots in Florida, then shifts to the northern reaches of the continent and follows the expeditions of Samuel de Champlain up the St. Lawrence River and into the Great Lakes as he mapped the wilderness, organized the fur trade, promoted Christianity among the natives, and waged a savage forest campaign against the Iroquois.

The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century (1867) traces the zealous efforts of the Jesuits and other Roman Catholic orders to convert the Native American tribes of North America. 

La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West (1869) records that explorer’s voyages on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and his treks, often alone, across the vast western prairies and through the labyrinthine swamps of Louisiana. 

The Old Régime in Canada (1874) recounts the political struggles among the religious sects, colonial officials, feudal chiefs, royal ministers, and military commanders of Canada. Their bitter fights over the monopoly of the fur trade, the sale of brandy to the natives, the importation of wives from the orphanages and poorhouses of France, and the bizarre fanaticism of religious extremists and their “incessant supernaturalism” animate this pioneering social history of early Canada.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
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