BushRunner Review

The author, co-owner of Honest Dog Books in Bayfield, with a copy of “Bush Runner; the Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson. The adventurer made stops in the Bay Area while helping create Hudson’s Bay Co. (Contributed photo)

I am a fan of regional history but not of dry history lessons, so I was psyched with the new biography on the life of Pierre-Espirit Radisson. Canadian journalist Mark Bourrie has written a swashbuckling tale of Radisson’s swashbuckling life. Turns out, stopping in Ashland on one of his expeditions is just one of his many adventures.

Radisson was a free spirit who charmed his way across cultures, languages and continents. I was fascinated by the details of life and indigenous practices in the first quarter of the book. There is an in-depth description of a starving first winter near Chequamegon Bay and the intertribal feast held to mark the end of winter. It was refreshing to read a work placing the early exploration of the region in a critical modern context. In this book, North America is not “discovered” and the region is not portrayed as “uninhabited wilderness,” but rather as a landscape full of vibrant indigenous cultures.

(Copyright © 2021 APG Media)

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