Review: The Forts of New France in Northeast America 1600-1763, René Chartrand

Rating: 4 out of 5

M Chartrand’s description of life in New France is improved by this edition. While the focus has passed from the main centres of life to the numerous smaller locales, the author has managed to take this in by a broad sweep across New France and Acadia.

My main problems with M Chartrand’s book on the big French colonies were solved here: the author frequently brought up both French and British sources to comment on the fortifications; numerous anecdotal stories were included; and there were more illustrations for a broader sweep of places.

What I didn’t like in this one — or, rather, what I hoped this edition would include — was a history of Fort Royal in Placentia. The place is an absolute favourite of mine and Placentia does have some notable history to be described. Yet, a page in this book is all that Newfoundland gets and that is a lasting shame.

Nevertheless, the other areas, including the St Lawrence Valley, Richelieu Valley, and French Acadia are covered in beautiful depth. The Ohio Valley and Hudson Bay are also covered though not as well. Further, what is really lacking is a detailed list of the sites and their modern status. Instead, the reader gets a bland statement saying “many of these places can be visited”. Overall, my conclusion is that Osprey would have done a better service to the territory by making a book for Acadia, and keeping New France separate from that.

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