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Mark Bourrie (CA)

Crosses in the Sky: Jean de Brebeuf and the destruction of Huronia

Crosses in the Sky: Jean de Brebeuf and the destruction of Huronia

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From the bestselling author of Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre Esprit-Radisson

This is the story of the collision of two worlds. In the early 1600s, the Jesuits—the Catholic Church’s most ferocious warriors for Christ—tried to create their own nation on the Great Lakes and turn the Huron (Wendat) Confederacy into a model Jesuit state. At the centre of their campaign was missionary Jean de Brébeuf, a mystic who sought to die a martyr's death. He lived among a proud people who valued kindness and rights for all, especially women. In the end, Huronia was destroyed. Brébeuf became a Catholic saint, and the Jesuit's "martyrdom" became one of the founding myths of Canada.

In this first secular biography of Brébeuf, historian Mark Bourrie, bestselling author of Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson, recounts the missionary's fascinating life and tells the tragic story of the remarkable people he lived among. Drawing on the letters and documents of the time—including Brébeuf's accounts of his bizarre spirituality—and modern studies of the Jesuits, Bourrie shows how Huron leaders tried to navigate this new world and the people struggled to cope as their nation came apart. Riveting, clearly told, and deeply researched, Crosses in the Sky is an essential addition to—and expansion of—Canadian history.

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Mark Bourrie is an Ottawa-based author, lawyer, and journalist. He holds a master’s in journalism from Carleton University and a PhD in history from the University of Ottawa. In 2017, he was awarded a Juris Doctor degree and was called to the bar in 2018. He has won numerous awards for his journalism, including a National Magazine Award, and received the RBC Charles Taylor Prize in 2020 for his book Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson. His most recent book, Big Men Fear Me: The Fast Life and Quick Death of Canada’s Most Powerful Media Mogul, was nominated for several book awards.

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