Trappers and Mountain Men - American Heritage Junior Library
January 1, 1961
Nearly a thousand years ago, Norsemen sailed their dragon ships across the stormy Atlantic to open the first trade with the copper-skinned natives of a new world. The wealth brought home was fur. Yet the history of North America must have been very different except for one of those odd turns fashion sometimes takes. The introduction of the beaver hat into Europe in the mid-fifteenth century brought about a sartorial revolution comparable in scope to the changes in dress that occurred in nineteeenth-century England, when Beau Brummell's example led men of the Western world to give up their peacock finery and dress in subdued blacks, browns, blues, and grays. A good beaver hat over a period of almost four hundred years was a symbol of status, a social necessity. A swift-paced narrative written for young readers here touches upon some of the high lights of the centuries-long history of the North American fur trade, while also mirroring something of a unique and unforgettable way of life, together with its heroes, a tough, colorful, sometimes cruel, always superbly skilled breed of men called by the French coureurs de bois, by the English woods runners, by Russians promyshlenniki, and by the Americans trappers, released men, and mountain men. It is to be hoped that those who read this book, young and old, will go onto read the original narratives bequeathed to us by many of the participants in this splendidly-colored history. For their stories, today as in past generations, challenge the imaginations of all who are interested in men and in the world they create.
Travis: I found this book in an old thrift store in Utah a few weeks ago. This is an incredible history underlying the exploration of America - which was mostly done by adventurous mountain men who had to live off the land just like the Native Americans in their midst. It has a ton of awesome historical entries that I wish I could add to my database if I had more time, but they're not that revelant to the carnivore diet except for the few entries I've posted. There are other points in the book where a fort collected 11,000 pounds of buffalo meat as well as lots of skins, mostly beaver. I even happened across a Mountain Men event where I live and I went while reading this book and was able to buy a beaver pelt. My cats love sitting on it.