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Publisher's Summary

Murderer. Salesman. Pirate. Adventurer. Cannibal. Cofounder of the Hudson's Bay Company. Known to some as the first European to explore the upper Mississippi, and widely as the namesake of ships and hotel chains, Pierre-Esprit Radisson is perhaps best described, writes Mark Bourrie, as “an eager hustler with no known scruples”. Kidnapped by Mohawk warriors at the age of 15, Radisson assimilated and was adopted by a powerful family, only to escape to New York City after less than a year. After being recaptured, he defected from a raiding party to the Dutch and crossed the Atlantic to Holland - thus beginning a lifetime of seized opportunities and frustrated ambitions.

A guest among First Nations communities, French fur traders, and royal courts; witness to London’s Great Plague and Great Fire; and unwitting agent of the Jesuits’ corporate espionage, Radisson double-crossed the English, French, Dutch, and his adoptive Mohawk family alike, found himself marooned by pirates in Spain, and lived through shipwreck on the reefs of Venezuela. His most lasting venture as an Arctic fur trader led to the founding of the Hudson’s Bay Company, which operates today, 350 years later, as North America’s oldest corporation. 

Sourced from Radisson’s journals, which are the best firsthand accounts of 17th-century Canada, Bush Runner tells the extraordinary true story of this protean 17th-century figure, a man more trading partner than colonizer, a peddler of goods and not worldview - and with it offers a fresh perspective on the world in which he lived.

©Mark Bourrie, 2019 (P)2020 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Bush Runner

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

So disappointed.

I really wanted to love this book. I grew up admiring R&G. They discovered the land I lived in. The story about Radisson is very interesting, the narrator is dreadful.
It could have been suspenseful, it was just a person reading the book. So sad.

12 people found this helpful

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Excellent book, disappointing narration

The book is very well written, engaging and informative. The author paints a clear picture of an amazing life. I wish he had been the reader. The narration is not good - the narrator’s voice is fine but the number of mispronunciations and misplaced emphasis on too many sentences is irritating. Examples: “potluck” for “potlach”, “see you” for “Sioux”, “peppies” for Pepys”, “plag” for “plague” etc. The end credits cite many editors/technicians etc - surely someone among them would know better.

Still, a terrific book. Maybe better to read it in hard copy, if you can.

8 people found this helpful

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Rip roaring adventure tale, and history too

Don’t let the ‘Canadian history’ tag turn you away from what is a fascinating adventure tale about a remarkable and enigmatic man. Loved it and I am not a regular listener in this genre.

About the utterly atrocious narration already noted in detail elsewhere : there are really no excuses. To say it does injustice to the text is only the beginning. Audible should be working on a 2nd version to replace this, pronto.

5 people found this helpful

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Long-winded good story

The intertwined historical events are quite interesting, and might have you running to encyclopedias, but the monotone performance lacks enthusiasm. Many tangents in the story could be removed or streamlined

4 people found this helpful

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What is the problem???

I was hesitant to download the book with all the negative comments about the narrator's poor pronunciation, etc? Although I am only 1/4 of the way through the audiobook, I find the narrator's pronunciation, especially of french words and phrases to be good (as a native Engish speaker with some proficiency in Canadien français), and certainly better than I've heard from many American speakers who tend to butcher la langue française.

3 people found this helpful

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Great book; terrible narrator

The ways the narrator butchered names (places and people) made this book almost impossible to listen to. It was clear he had initially mispronounced “Sioux” and had to re-record the name so it stood out awkwardly every time. So many other names were mispronounced, I lost count, but it blew my mind that someone narrating a history book would pronounce Thames “Tames”

2 people found this helpful

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  • A
  • 2021-05-26

not good, but narration is not the issue...

My biggest issue with this book is the fact that Radisson is such a unreliable and self-serving storyteller, that I believe very little of it. Bourrie seems to be under the influence of Radisson and believing many of his claims as it makes for a better tale. You could say I'm being too sceptical, but bourrie himself admits that Radisson completely fabricates being involved in major explorations. Radisson is clearly a man who betrays everyone and then paints himself as a victim that complains he never gets to take advantage of his 'work.'
In the end because of this I did not enjoy this book and do not recommend it.

2 people found this helpful

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Subpar production

The narration seems slapdash. There are many mispronunciations of simple words. There is imprecise pacing too.

2 people found this helpful

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A great adventurer if not really an explorer

The Audible description of this biography is a bit unfair in that it paints Radisson as a somewhat distasteful character when in truth he was a pure adventurer, a man who did what he had to do to survive, who may or may not have discovered some parts of Canada and the US upper midwest but certainly started the Hudson's Bay Company which still operates today. This is a rollicking read about a man who led a really exciting life. The narrator was generally very good except when he had to pronounce French names..

2 people found this helpful

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Let Down

A good book that I quite enjoyed. Lots of information of which I was unaware and written in a pleasing manner. The performance was disappointing, however, to the point that I will avoid that reader in future if possible.

2 people found this helpful

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  • R Ayers
  • 2020-04-29

Distracting reader

The story is interesting and fairly well written but the reader mispronounces so many words that the narration is actually a distraction. Place names, well-known names of people, and other common words are frequently well off the mark of accepted pronunciation.

2 people found this helpful

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  • jh67
  • 2022-03-12

Great Read!

An amazing scoundrel, an amazing story. Well written and well read, one of those stories that if it were not history you'd never except the plot as possible. I knew a little bit about Radisson from studying the fur trade in New France. But I had no idea the amazing life he lived, and what a horrible person he was at times. Then again, those were different and perilous times. Great information on indigenous cultures, a history of New France, and the beginning of the Hudson's Bay Company. At a time when most didn't travel more than 20 miles from their home in a lifetime he was a World traveler. If you start this you will not be able to put it down.