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Clarkston author brings history to life



Kim_Crawford
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Crawford (click for larger version)
July 11, 2012 - Kim Crawford is a Clarkston local and has had three books published.

His most recent work The Daring Trader was completed this spring and brings to light the untold story of an 1800's fur trader who was a secret agent for the U.S. government.

Crawford worked as a reporter for over 30 years and uses those skills to gather the material he needs to write his historical books.

He had been working on The Daring Trader for about 10 years before it was published. When he started writing the book, he was working as a reporter and only gathering information on the weekends when he could. Eventually, it turned into a 320 page paperback book published by Michigan State University Press.

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The Daring Trader Crawford said, has a small audience and will be enjoyed mostly by hard-core history buffs. However, you don't need to be a professor to understand it, and some people have enjoyed it as a story. In the end, Crawford doesn't care much about the audience though.

"What I'm proud of is that it's a forgotten story, an untold story that I've managed to bring to light 200 years later," he said.

The book follows the story of fur trader Jacob Smith. Crawford said that an interesting thing he learned about fur traders of the time is what scoundrels they were. They would sue each other back and forth and have frequent disputes.

This is very different from the typical brave adventurer angle with which most are familiar. Crawford said one of his big draws to Smith was that he went above and beyond the typical scoundrel of the time.

There were government liaisons working with the Indians in Michigan throughout the time, but they would be announced as such. Smith was working with the Indians but never told them he was working for the U.S. government.

Smith became so involved with the Indians that they started asking him for advice, which, in the end, caused Smith to gain a lot of land for the U.S. Smith also played a large role in founding Flint and the surrounding areas.

If you are surprised that Smith did so much, but you never heard of him, don't worry. Crawford said, "to me that's what history is. To tell a story that hasn't been told." This has certainly been done in the story of the rascal of a fur trader, Jacob Smith.

For further information about the book, visit Michigan State University Press's webpage, msupress.msu.edu.

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