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Publisher's Summary

This is the fascinating story of the French regime in Canada. Few periods in the history of North America can equal it for romance and color, drama and suspense, great human courage and far-seeing aspiration. Costain, who writes history in the terms of the people who lived it, wrote of this book: "Almost from the first I found myself caught in the spell of these courageous, colorful, cruel days. But whenever I found myself guilty of overstressing the romantic side of the picture and forgetful of the more prosaic life beneath, I tried to balance the scales more properly. [This] is...a conscientious effort at a balanced picture of a period which was brave, bizarre, fanatical, lyrical, lusty, and, in fact, rather completely unbalanced."
©2010 Thomas Costain (P)2010 Random House Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Ninotchka on 05-17-12

Wonderful Listen!

I failed history in college and it was never an easy subject, so I have made a point to improve myself on the subject. The narrator is very good and one of the best on Audible. The story was really interesting and a lot of fun. If you have a vague interest in the subject then don't hesitate on this one. I learned a lot and enjoyed it too!

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Huston Eubank on 12-12-17

Absolutely fascinating history; terrible reading!

Would you consider the audio edition of The White and the Gold to be better than the print version?

Depends. There are so may place references in the book that I would love to have the luxury of reading this in print and following all the action on a detailed map on my lap. But I don't have that luxury, so listening to the book (while swimming) means I'm able to enjoy it anyway.

What did you like best about this story?

The immense amount and richness of detail about the individuals lives, and the (surprisingly – to me at least) vast number of individuals whose stories it tells. Also their lives and achievements left me wondering at what sounds like their superhuman capabilities. Really brings this period of history alive – and it's not well known to most North Americans. Also gave me a rich appreciation of the reasons for the current well-deserved tensions between French and Anglos in Quebec (where I live).

Would you be willing to try another one of Richard Matthews’s performances?

Never ever. He means well, I'm sure, and it's a huge task to read this book aloud. But to a modern North American, his regal upper-crust British accent (and his French also) sounds pompous, pretentious, stilted, and even slightly wimpy to the max, and thoroughly unsuited to telling tales of valiant but rough settlers, governors, Courier de Bois, First Nations people, and similar folk. Very unpleasant and distracting – maddening even. I'm heading into a second listen because the writing and people and events are so fascinating, but absolutely in spite of the reader.

Any additional comments?

IMHO it is well worth making another recording of this fascinating book with a more modern-sounding narrator so that more people will be able to 'connect' with it. I understand where some of the reviewers are coming from with their rants about the book being racist, but I thoroughly disagree. What the Europeans did to the beautiful First Nations people – throughout history – is throughly detestable, and one of many low-points in western (or even human) history. But it does no good to sugar coat the facts or pretend that these events never happened. The events related in this book were a titanic clash of deeply conflicting cultures, and it must be read with an open mind. There is lots of truth in the old chestnut you have to know history to avoid repeating it. We have lots to learn, and this book is a good start. The author gives the First Nations people plenty of recognition for their knowledge and abilities, but narrates things as they happened, albeit from the white man's perspective. My understanding is that he is factual – very bad things happened, on both sides (at the risk of sounding like Trump). If the reader finds it racist I suggest that they examine their own prejudices. And we also have to acknowledge that the book was written in 1954 – we're slightly more enlightened today (though not a lot). For those who love history, also note that the author says that this is one of 6 volumes of Canadian history, by various authors.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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