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A history of the Great Lakes region sets out with the geological facts and runs right up to today's tribulations with water pollution. Between come the more human facts: the estimated arrival of man in the region is 11,000 B.C., the copper-working cultures took hold in 4000 B.C., followed by the Mound Builders. The modern history of the Lakes raises questions: did the Vikings discover them, as the Kensington Stone would appear to imply? did Brule discover them on his travels? The author follows the French explorers, the Jesuit missionaries, the coureurs de bois and the voyageurs, the wars which wrested the region and Canada from the French (his coverage of the taking of Quebec is a highpoint in the book). The war of 1812 saw Perry fighting the British and marked an end to battles barring a Civil War episode. By 1850 copper and iron mining and logging had taken hold; on the Lakes shipping history was made by the Erie canal and the Great Storm of 1913 which took a toll of seventy-one ships. Today the St. Lawrence Seaway adds a chapter. Mr. McKee's forte rests with specific events and personalities; his conceptualization of the region is less clear. He bypasses the urbanization and industrialization of the area altogether, for example. What he does tell us is written in readable style. Reasonably informative.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1966
Publisher: Crowell