David Thompson: A Trail by Stars

David Thompson: A Trail by Stars

By Annie Murray

A review of David Thompson: A Trail By Stars by Tom Shardlow

Published on October 1, 2007

David Thompson: A Trail By Stars
Tom Shardlow

XYZ Publishing
$17.95
paper
170pp
978-1-894852-18-0

The first thing the YA reader finds in David Thompson: A Trail by Stars is the aged and penniless Thompson hawking the last of his surveying instruments to buy food during a bitterly cold Montreal winter. How could such a legendary surveyor, map maker and explorer be reduced to this?

This clever hook makes the reader curious to learn more about Thompson’s life and accomplishments. The ensuing chapters portray his youth in an English charity school where he learns math and astronomy. Upon graduation he is sent to Rupert’s Land to apprentice in the fur trade. His years exploring and mapping vast territories in the service of first the Hudson’s Bay Company and then the North West Company form the core of this well-researched biography. The narrative style brings the time of exploration and settlement to life, and David Thompson is given his due as a remarkable figure in history.

This is an interesting stand-alone book that would also enrich and enliven history curricula. mRb

Annie Murray is a Montreal librarian.

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