“Although John Askin was one of the most prominent entrepreneurs of the period of British control of the Great Lakes (1760–1796), he has never been the subject of a comprehensive biography. Carroll illuminates the sometimes shadowy figure of Askin and clearly shows how he and his numerous business and family interests at Michilimackinac and later at Detroit influenced trade in the northern Great Lakes—and how it in turn affected him. This is an eminently readable account of a giant of Michigan’s first major industry”.
—Brian Leigh Dunnigan, Associate Director and Curator of Maps, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
“This rich portrait of John Askin’s life offers a unique vista into the close interrelationship between trade and empire in the western Great Lakes. As a trader at Michilimackinac and Detroit, Askin lived at the peripheries of the First British Empire, and through his eyes we see how Indians influenced the outcomes of this more powerful empire, frequently forcing the powerful British to accede to Indian demands. Askin’s economic triumphs depended on his relationship with Indigenous people while the consequences of imperial conflicts and mismanagement often led Askin down financially disastrous pathways.”
—Susan Sleeper-Smith, Professor, Department of History, Michigan State University, and coeditor of Why You Can’t Teach United States History without American Indians and author of Indian Women and French Men: Rethinking Cultural Encounter in the Western Great Lakes
“Justin Carroll has written a long needed business biography of John Askin, the most prominent trader at Michilimackinac during the late 1760s and 1770s. Carroll shows in detail how Askin’s changing relationships with British post commanders facilitated his rise and precipitated his fall as a major player in the fur trade. Anyone interested in the British presence in the western Great Lakes will find this book to be of great interest.”
—Keith R. Widder, author of Beyond Pontiac’s Shadow: Michilimackinac and the Anglo-Indian War of 1763