It is hard to find top rate historical short stories as an author has less time to create an atmosphere. "Rough Deeds" by Annie Proulx, set in the early 18th century in Canada, called "New France" still by many, is a very good historical short story. It centers on a very tough business man who is logging the Canadian and Maine woods for masts for European ship builders. It takes fifty acres of woodland to build one ship. He soon begins to build significant wealth through shipping the logs to European ports and coming back with a cargo of goods for import. He, in partnership with another man, begins to buy up massive acreage of timber. The problem is timber poachers. I learned a lot about the connections of the timber business to international affairs and much more from this story. I will leave the rest of this very atmospheric story unspoiled for first time readers.
I have now read and posted on four of Annie Proulx's short stories. People die violently in each of these stories. I have access to one more of her stories and hope to read and post on it soon.
You can read, for a limited time, the story here.
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Annie Proulx is the author of eight books, including the novel The Shipping News and the story collection
. Her many honors include a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and a PEN/Faulkner award. Her story “Brokeback Mountain,” which originally appeared in The New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award-winning film. Her most recent book is Fine Just the Way It Is. She lives in Close Range Wyoming. - from publisher web page