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David Hackett Fishcer
David Hackett Fischer


NYS WRiters Institute, October 30, 2008

4:15 p.m. Seminar | Standish Room, Science Library
8:00 p.m. Reading | Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center


David Hackett Fischer, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, will discuss his new book about French explorer Samuel de Champlain in anticipation of the Hudson 400 Celebration of Discovery to be held throughout the Hudson Valley. Fischer will speak on Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. in the Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m. the author will present an informal seminar in the Standish Room, Science Library, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. The events are cosponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and the UAlbany History Department in conjunction with the annual Fossieck Lecture, and are free and open to the public.


Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Hackett Fischer is celebrated for a large body of work that seeks to correct errors in traditional understandings of early American history.

He is the author most recently of “Champlain’s Dream” (2008), the authoritative biography of French adventurer and visionary, Samuel de Champlain. The book’s publication coincides with the 400th anniversary of the founding of New France in 1608.

Fischer presents Champlain as a man of many talents and interests—soldier, spy, master mariner, explorer, cartographer, artist, and Father of New France. A veteran of France’s brutal religious wars, Champlain brought a vision of political and religious tolerance to the Quebec settlement. Fischer credits him with helping to found a society— unlike any other in the New World— in which Europeans and Native Americans managed to live side by side in relative harmony.

In a starred review “Publishers Weekly” referred to “Champlain’s Dream” as “the definitive biography of Samuel de Champlain . . . Fischer once again displays a staggering and wide research. . . [an] epic story [and] outstanding work.” “Kirkus Reviews” called the book “a lucid portrait of a man given too little attention in the standard American textbooks. Fischer’s work should make it impossible to ignore Champlain’s contributions henceforth.”

Fischer received the Pulitzer Prize for “Washington’s Crossing” (2004), a strategic and tactical analysis of Washington’s battles in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Writing in the “New York Times Book Review,” Joseph Ellis called it, “a highly realistic and wonderfully readable narrative …. Fischer’s ability to combine the panoramic with the palpable is unparalleled in giving us a glimpse of what warfare back then was really like.”

Other notable works include “Liberty and Freedom: A Visual History of America's Founding Ideas” (2004), a main selection of the History Book Club; “The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History” (1996), which Floyd Norris, Chief Financial Correspondent of the “New York Times” called “This year’s best book for investors; “Paul Revere’s Ride” (1994), a main selection of the History Book Club; “Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America” (1989), winner of the American Association of University Presses Prize for Overall Excellence; and “Historians’ Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought” (1970).

Fischer serves as the Earl Warren Professor of History at Brandeis, where he has taught since 1962. In 2006, he received the Irving Kristol Prize of the American Enterprise Institute. He is presently at work on two books, a comparative political history of the United States and New Zealand, and a history of the endurance of African folkways in America.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.