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Bush Runner

The Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson
Written by: Mark Bourrie
Narrated by: Jeff Burling
Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
Categories: Biographies & Memoirs
4.5 out of 5 stars (46 ratings)

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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.
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  • Overall
    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.

11 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 person found this helpful

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If only history was this cool in school!

Very enjoyable perspective on "stories" we heard in elementary school. My only criticism is the narration. It's a little dry and he doesn't seem to have much enthusiasm for the subject and from my perspective there is plenty to be enthusiastic about when it comes to these tales. Another thing in general, I know these are audiobooks but I don't understand why some of these are so plain. I prefer the books with sound effects and music as it seems to really take advantage of the medium. If I wanted to read something, I would just read it myself. I love the books that seem like more of an old radio production or resemble a play.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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awful narrator ruins what is otherwise a good book.

I was really looking forward to hearing a book about early Canadian history and especially about Radisson and Grosselier whom I remember from my high school history class. The book was actually quite good but the narration was awful. The narrator's awkward phrasing, inconsistent emphasis and terrible mispronunciation made it very hard to listen to. I almost couldn't finish. If you are interested in this book get the printed copy, avoid the audiobook.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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..

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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

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Awesome story!

Loved it! Very compelling and the true story is a must to know about for Canadians and indigenous peoples. It provides a lot of insite into the highly developed moral codes, customs, traditions, laws and the ancient practices of Canada's first peoples. I thought I knew something about all this but now I realize I had very limited knowledge and understanding!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • 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.