A heavy handed and somewhat dramatized account of the Astor fur trading enterprise on the Columbia River describes the voyage made by the Tonquin from New York in 1810 and the subsequent trials of settlement at Astoria.' The narrative is focussed principally on the differences between Jonathan Thorn, who captained the ship, and Duncan McDougall, Astor's representative. Thorn, with a seaman's ideas of order and authority, found a difficult match in McDougall who viewed even the voyage itself as an integral part of an undertaking he was to command. Tempers flared often during the trip which is fully detailed as to storms, the stop in Hawaii and so forth. Then during the beginnings of Fort Astoria, the fur trading and the rivalries with Canada, we see McDougall as both tyrant and able negotiator. But what might have made good reading is disappointingly dull and a lively segment of history is burdened with awkward phrasings and cliches.