Timothy J. Kent
Historical Author, Paddler, and Reenactor

 

 

 

 

 

Book Reviews

"Everyone with an interest in the history of the French in North America should know about Timothy Kent's magnificent series of books on the colonial era. Phantoms, his newest work, illuminates twenty heretofore obscure Frenchmen who ventured ever farther west, into the upper St. Lawrence Valley, the Great Lakes region, and beyond, in search of peltries and trade with native peoples of the midcontinent. As always, Tim's writings are meticulously based on archival research, from which he creates vivid narratives of life in 17th and 18th century New France. His abundant references to trade goods and household furnishings, providing valuable detail about colonial material culture in both the eastern settlements and the western interior, will appeal to historians, archaeologists, and living history buffs alike."-Gregory Waselkov, archaeologist at Ft. Toulouse, Old Mobile, and other early French sites in the Gulf Coast colony, and author of The Archaeology of French Colonial North America (English-French edition); Old Mobile Archaeology; and A Conquering Spirit: Fort Mims and the Redstick War of 1813-1814

"Everyone knowing the prolific writings and publications of Timothy Kent about the French fur trade, spanning some forty years, will anticipate that his latest production will be of the highest detail and scholarship, meticulously researched and presented, with exciting innovativeness in the manner of presentation. His new three-volume release, Phantoms of the French Fur Trade, meets all of these expectations. The "Phantoms" are his own ancestors, whose biographies Tim has researched in depth, including not only the men but also their wives and families who supported them. Tim brings these forgotten people back to life. This work truly represents a leap forward in understanding the French fur trade era. The three volumes are hard-covered, with high quality bindings and editing, and they amount to 2,450 pages. No library or scholar with holdings on the subject of the fur trade can be without these books."-Charles Garrad, Arch Notes, Journal of the Ontario Archaeological Society

"Tim Kent's exhaustive research of more than four decades has finally appeared in print. Throughout the more than two thousand pages of his magnus opus are the detailed histories of twenty French fur trade employees who plied the waters, supplied fur trading goods, or produced the canoes and paddles used by the voyageurs from the St. Lawrence to the far reaches of the western Upper Great Lakes and beyond. This work will, in my opinion, become the go-to, baseline source for all future fur trade studies in the United States. Certainly, this three-volume work is a must purchase for libraries, historical reenactors, and professional academicians alike."-Kenneth Carstens, Director, Institute of Frontier History and Archaeology, Murray, Kentucky

"Once again, Timothy Kent has shared his painstaking research with his fellow man. The French fur trade of 1618-1758 is a subject in which extreme amounts of information have been missing, until now. As a result, the contents of this massive work will be well received by many, and the daunting task of compiling it will be highly appreciated. These volumes will provide invaluable information for those who are involved with fur trade history, American history, and Canadian history, and they will be of massive assistance to those involved with genealogy.
As with all of Tim's works, this set will be up front on the shelf of research material that is constantly thumbed though. The term "phantom" is perfect for this collection, since the period covered by these books often provides scant information. Mr. Kent truly brings to life each individual: how their life was lived, which professions flourished, what was needed for financial security, how families survived and thrived in a new world. Those researching the early days of Quebec and Montreal will relish the day-to-day details of families struggling to survive, and they will learn in minute detail how the business of the fur trade provided a living for a great many people. The previous work of Eccles, Allard, and other scholars gave us the history and the beginnings; now, Tim gives us the individual sacrifices and lives. These accounts of the daily grind of work, the steady flow of births and deaths, and the continuity of calling New France home, will enrich anyone reading this valuable set of books."-Karl Koster, independent fur trade scholar for over 25 years, employee since 1997 of the National Park Service at Grand Portage National Monument

"These tomes are a tribute to the author's ancestors who were involved in New France's fur trade. The lives of both the men and their families are described in amazing detail, based on surviving documents. These volumes are also packed with information that is dear to the hearts of living historians, such as superstitions, customs, and laws; the exchange rate of pelts for merchandise; what kinds of watercraft were used; how houses were built; what the men and their wives owned at the times of their deaths; what foods were eaten. In short, these three volumes offer a macro--and a micro--history of New France. Timothy Kent has published eight titles so far, totaling thirteen volumes and a DVD."-Mark Neuman, Smoke and Fire News

"Phantoms of the French Fur Trade is the newest edition to Tim Kent's impressive catalogue. As in his prior works, he does not stint on information, as can be seen from the need for three volumes."-Wayne Krefting, The Voyageur News, North American Voyageur Council

*I have been been delving into your books in a very big way. I cannot tell you how very impressed and grateful I am to have such resources as yours. Your dedication to detail is astounding, and the number of hours you must have spent transcribing and translating documents must have been in the thousands. You have truly paved the way for us novelists.

*I have used your previous books as sources for much of my research, and I have noticed that doctoral committees have done likewise.

*After 49 years of selling scholarly and out-of-print history books, I remain as impressed as can be with all of your work. Your work on the Phantoms set is magnificent, as it has been on all of your other books.

*Your work is awesome, amazing, etc., etc. I hope you take time to sleep!

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