Call number: E46 .D65 2010
For all of fur’s contentious position in American culture today, historian Eric Jay Dolin shows its centrality in our nation’s ever-surprising history. He argues that the trade in animal skins turned colonial America into a tumultuous frontier where global powers battled for control. From the seventeenth century right on up to the Gilded Age, the developed world’s appetite for fur made the new continent, with its wealth of fur-bearing wildlife, a seemingly inexhaustible resource. The result was a major boost in the evolution of the colonies into a powerful new player on the world stage. Dolin sheds insight on the ways the fur trade created international tensions–in New England, the Great Lakes, and in the expanding West. Fur traders were often the first white men to map major rivers, forests, and mountains, then soon pushed Native Americans off their lands as John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company attempted to monopolize the West.–From publisher description.