MARQUETTE AND JOLIET: Voyagers on the Mississippi by Ronald Syme

MARQUETTE AND JOLIET: Voyagers on the Mississippi

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Fleshing out the journals of Father Marquette and other firsthand observers with some dialogue from his own imagination, Syme traces the two explorers' similar boyhoods in France, their journey down the Mississippi and back again and their subsequent careers -- Marquette's death while trying to establish a mission to the Illinois Indians, and Joliet's exploration of the Hudson Bay. Even in this easy-reading framework Syme's style tends to be stilted (""the shadows of Marquette, Joliet and La Salle still overhang much of Louisiana"" and so on), but he includes many striking details of the journey itself -- like the wild superstitions passed on by many of the Indians living near the river, the strange fish captured by the voyageurs' nets -- and he adds bits and pieces of background, whether as relevant as the tensions between Frontenac and the Jesuits or as out of the way as the military history of Picardy, without slipping into tedium.

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 1974
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Morrow