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The People of New France

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This book surveys the social history of New France. For more than a century, until the British conquest of 1759-60, France held sway over a major portion of the North American continent. In this vast territory several unique colonial societies emerged, societies which in many respects mirrored ancien regime France, but which also incorporated a major Aboriginal component. W This book surveys the social history of New France. For more than a century, until the British conquest of 1759-60, France held sway over a major portion of the North American continent. In this vast territory several unique colonial societies emerged, societies which in many respects mirrored ancien regime France, but which also incorporated a major Aboriginal component. Whereas earlier works in this field presented pre-conquest Canada as completely white and Catholic, The People of New France looks closely at other members of society as well: black slaves, English captives and Christian Iroquois of the mission villages near Montreal. The artisans and soldiers, the merchants, nobles, and priests who congregated in the towns of Montreal and Quebec are the subject of one chapter. Another chapter examines the special situation of French regime women under a legal system that recognized wives as equal owners of all family property. The author extends his analysis to French settlements around the Great Lakes and down the Mississippi Valley, and to Acadia and Ile Royale. Greer's book, addressed to undergraduate students and general readers, provides a deeper understanding of how people lived their lives in these vanished Old-Regime societies.


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This book surveys the social history of New France. For more than a century, until the British conquest of 1759-60, France held sway over a major portion of the North American continent. In this vast territory several unique colonial societies emerged, societies which in many respects mirrored ancien regime France, but which also incorporated a major Aboriginal component. W This book surveys the social history of New France. For more than a century, until the British conquest of 1759-60, France held sway over a major portion of the North American continent. In this vast territory several unique colonial societies emerged, societies which in many respects mirrored ancien regime France, but which also incorporated a major Aboriginal component. Whereas earlier works in this field presented pre-conquest Canada as completely white and Catholic, The People of New France looks closely at other members of society as well: black slaves, English captives and Christian Iroquois of the mission villages near Montreal. The artisans and soldiers, the merchants, nobles, and priests who congregated in the towns of Montreal and Quebec are the subject of one chapter. Another chapter examines the special situation of French regime women under a legal system that recognized wives as equal owners of all family property. The author extends his analysis to French settlements around the Great Lakes and down the Mississippi Valley, and to Acadia and Ile Royale. Greer's book, addressed to undergraduate students and general readers, provides a deeper understanding of how people lived their lives in these vanished Old-Regime societies.

30 review for The People of New France

  1. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    Full disclosure. I read this for a class. I probably never would have picked it up on my own. I think its purpose is likely mostly as a class text. It fulfills this purpose well. It primarily summarizes past scholarship on New France and is at times critical of some of the opinions and views held by those authors. I found the introduction and first chapter or two deadoring but it picked up fom there with some sketches of life at the time as well as some summaries of first hand accounts, most oft Full disclosure. I read this for a class. I probably never would have picked it up on my own. I think its purpose is likely mostly as a class text. It fulfills this purpose well. It primarily summarizes past scholarship on New France and is at times critical of some of the opinions and views held by those authors. I found the introduction and first chapter or two deadoring but it picked up fom there with some sketches of life at the time as well as some summaries of first hand accounts, most often of visitors to the colony. There is very little source material included from actual Canadians, those born or raised in the colony. Perhaps they were few and far between because of literary rates at e time? Perhaps Greer found the accounts of outsiders better framework for an reading audience that is similarities new to New France? I did miss them though, a genuine account from settlers themselves. Similarly Greer tries to include more information about aboriginal people than is perhaps has been traditionally found in these histories . In general he also tends to try and be less Eurocentric and enthnocentric in his accounts of the relationship between the French and aboriginal peoples. He does have some insightful comments about the paternalistic and ethnocentric worldview of the French and how this impacted diplomatic relationships as well as everyday life. There isn't however an aboriginal perspective in this book. It is still very much a settler history, but I also think it wasn't really trying robe anything else. All in all, Greerstrikes a ice balance inhis writing style between numbers and facts, first hand accounts, and imagined circumstances. Not a bad text book, but a text book all the same.

  2. 5 out of 5

    John

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. An academic text, but an interesting one about the history and residents of New France. I learned a lot about historical moments, enduring issues, and traditions (where some French-Canadian surnames come from, for example, and the importance of wheat and bread-making in the culture).

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Dyck

    This is a great history on the colony of New France and the experience of people who immigrated over from France. Greer's attention to detail, yet concise descriptions make this a must read for anyone interested in Canada's history since contact. This is a great history on the colony of New France and the experience of people who immigrated over from France. Greer's attention to detail, yet concise descriptions make this a must read for anyone interested in Canada's history since contact.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katie Wilson

    It's easy to see why Allan Greer is a master in his field. This history is so informative and concise. Definitely more of a textbook, but it is a requisite read for anyone interested in the history of Early Canada specifically New France. It's easy to see why Allan Greer is a master in his field. This history is so informative and concise. Definitely more of a textbook, but it is a requisite read for anyone interested in the history of Early Canada specifically New France.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    An excellent introduction/overview of New France history. Perfect place to start for topical overviews and prepping for lectures.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Harris

    A short overview of the social history of New France, including chapters about the experiences of women and First Nations. The author critiques previous works on New France that focused closely on French Catholic emigrants without discussing the full diversity of the region. The book is just over a hundred pages long and therefore summarizes long periods of history in short chapters, a longer book would have given a greater sense of change over time.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Trishers

    Actually a very interesting read. If there had been books like this to read when I went through school I might actually have paid attention and learned something.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    A look at the social history of Canada before the British came in the 1760s.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joey

    It was an easy read, but I don't think his thesis was clear. It was an easy read, but I don't think his thesis was clear.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alexander

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pierce

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michael Young

  13. 5 out of 5

    James

  14. 5 out of 5

    suzanne morin

  15. 4 out of 5

    Arielle Pray

  16. 5 out of 5

    Graeme

  17. 5 out of 5

    Raymond

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Stark

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brian Mulloy

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ro

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Roy

  22. 5 out of 5

    YM

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michaela

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mike Parkes

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

  29. 5 out of 5

    Colin Lauener

  30. 4 out of 5

    Meredith J LoBello

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