Rating: 4 out of 5
I enjoyed this overview: M Chartrand describes the state of Québec, Montréal, Trois-Rivières, Louisbourg, and New Orleans. The focus of the story is clearly on the two grand Canadian cities, and one can’t blame the author for this. These two clearly offer more of a chance for descriptions and illustrations than the disappeared fortifications of Nouvelle-Orleans, the broken down structures of Louisbourg, or the ever-neglected Trois-Rivières.
The author starts also with a very helpful look into how the French governed their colonies, and this stride is maintained throughout the book. These explanations — including some anecdotes on M Vauban — make for a very interesting story. Most of the fortresses, as well, are covered chronologically with as much detail as possible. Montréal, perhaps as a minor exception, is also used to illustrate systems of outlying fortifications stretching to considerable distances.
My only (minor) beef with this is that there is less reference to original sources than what I’ve come to expect. Every writer has their own style, and that’s for the best, but I was hoping for more reflections from the contemporary citizens and adversaries in order to create a more colourful mental picture of these places.