Listen free for 30 days

Audible Membership

$14.95 a month

1 credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
The Plus Catalogue—listen all you want to thousands of Audible Originals, podcasts, and audiobooks.
$14.95 a month plus applicable taxes after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy Now for $35.05

Buy Now for $35.05

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Tax where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

A thrilling new telling of the story of modern Canada’s origins

The story of the Hudson’s Bay Company, dramatic and adventurous and complex, is the story of modern Canada’s creation. And yet it hasn’t been told in a book for over 30 years and never in such depth and vivid detail as in Stephen R. Bown’s exciting new telling.

The company started out small in 1670, trading practical manufactured goods for furs with the indigenous inhabitants of inland subarctic Canada. Controlled by a handful of English aristocrats, it expanded into a powerful political force that ruled the lives of many thousands of people - from the Lowlands south and west of Hudson Bay, to the Tundra, the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, and the Pacific Northwest. It transformed the culture and economy of many indigenous groups and ended up as the most important political and economic force in northern and western North America.

When the company was faced with competition from French traders in the 1780s, the result was a bloody corporate battle, the coming of Governor George Simpson - one of the greatest villains in Canadian history - and the company assuming political control and ruthless dominance. By the time its monopoly was rescinded after 200 years, the Hudson’s Bay Company had reworked the entire northern North American world.

Stephen R. Bown has a scholar’s profound knowledge and understanding of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s history but wears his learning lightly in a narrative as compelling and rich in well-drawn characters as a pause-resisting novel.

©2020 Stephen R. Bown (P)2021 Blackstone Publishing

More from the same

What listeners say about The Company

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    39
  • 4 Stars
    15
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    30
  • 4 Stars
    15
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    36
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

I had hoped to hear history as outlined as from all sides but from the beginning in this story the author says that the coureur des bois were French traders that took indigenous wives to further the fur trade and when that’s all that is said I feel this over generalizes the rich history of the birth of the Métis nation which was a partnership of communities. As a Métis person listening it’s abruptly devaluing. Maybe it is better explained later in this story but I couldn’t keep listening as the French enunciation was so bad as well. I was hoping after reading The Northwest is Our Mother that I could hear more history from other parts of Canada and Europe but it already seemed to start with the colonial savage Indian perspective and that also turned me off.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Worthwhile Read

I thoroughly enjoyed this title and learned a lot. With respect to the performance, like some other listeners, I occasionally got distracted by the narrator's non-Canadian pronunciations (portage, The Pas, etc.); however, this was only a minor annoyance.

I would love to see a review of this book by an Indigenous listener with some familial history of HBC—maybe as a Metis. The overall impression I got was that (at least initially) relations between the company and indigenous peoples were reasonably convivial, and that only towards the end of the monopoly did it deteriorate. I don't know if this is true, or if non-indigenous perceptions are just sugar coated. Nonetheless it is a great read.

Entertaining. Captivating. Educational. I wish Audible would negotiate and make available the maps and drawings on a website for subscribers as this would save you having to go to your computer and look things up all the time.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Tells why Canada and Canadians are the way we are.

This book was amazing! It really explains how we as Canadians got where we are today. I really appreciated the recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ culture and skills. They are always acknowledged as the guides for white explorers without whom all expeditions would have failed. Their knowledge and interpersonal skills are truly astounding. Matonabee is a new personal hero. Canada never had a civil war but the trade wars were pretty much the same thing. It was very informative to learn how the original respectful trading practices degraded over the years due to a few powerful peoples biases. I think I will hate George Simpson forever. The Boone ad well written in an entertaining style and the narrator had a pleasant voice.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Entertaining, Challenging and Enjoyable History

This is the first book about Canadian history I’ve listened to in a long time, wow, highly recommended this. It’s kind of three books in one, an economic history of the fur trade, an adventurous account of many of the explorers of western Canada, and a history of the relationships between the First Nations and the early traders and setters of the country. It’s a complex, fascinating and informative listen/read by an author who has a novelists skill in storytelling.

It will be a challenging read for anyone who has a pre-packaged view of history, colonization or the tragedy of First Nations / European interaction in the formative years of our country. People who want a simple good guys and bad guys narrative will be dissatisfied. The story would no doubt be vastly enriched by firsthand accounts from First Nations participants but the author does make some attempts to reflect on these missing stories and how the “big man” view of history is typically false. One moment in the narrative the writer remarks that the famous “explorers” we think of in western Canadian history… Mackenzie, Hearne, Henday they weren’t explorers at all … they were baggage in the canoe of the First Nations traders who took them for a ride-along.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it

It was a very interesting update of Canadian History. I liked it because it was about the people and the struggles they endured. it was more in line with the stories told by my Canadian ancestors. It did not gloss over or glorify the early leaders in various communities. I am sure that we will hear more as we delve more into the reality of our peoples' history.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Follows the major characters

I learned a lot as a Canadian I was familiar with some of the stories, but this book brought it all together and helped me learn and tie things together. highly recommend and the narrator is great!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Good story

The story of HBC is the story of the birth of Canada. This book does a good job of capturing the era and the larger than life characters that built the country… for better or worse.

The performance was marred by some very odd (non-Canadian) pronunciations. A Canadian story would have benefited from being told in Canadian English.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book

This book did a good job supporting Peter C Newman's book - 'Cessars of The Wilderness.' More books supporting Canadas exciting heritage should be written. The performance was excellent. So much so that I listened to it a second time.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Canadian history comes Alive

Perhaps you recall the dry 8th grade history classes droning on about the Hudson Bay company. This book will erase that and bring all the nuances to life

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinaring

The author gives life and personality to a portrait of an empire. Will play it again.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Pat Newell
  • 2021-05-22

Deserves higher rating.

There are so many books I want to hear I usually don't bother with anything less than 4.5 stars. But I''ve always been interested in the voyageurs and thought I'd take a chance. I was more than rewarded. Bown is able to bring to life the suffering, spirit and tenacity that drove on men whose love for adventure created Canada.

5 people found this helpful