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Wagons West

Frank McLynn

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Description

In all the sagas of human migration, none can top the drama of the journey by mid-Western farmers to Oregon and California in the years 1840-49. Sandwiched between the era of the fur trappers and the post-1849 gold fever, this account of the pioneering years in the overland trails highlights and explains a unique experience both in American and world history.

Seeking the promised land, these travellers trekked two thousand miles by covered wagon from Missouri to their destination on the Pacific. Using mountain men as guides, they went into the unknown, braving dangers from hunger, thirst, disease, drowning and Indians. The early overlanders got through only after Herculean efforts, but later in the decade complacency set in, and the result was disaster, especially in the case of the Donner party, marooned in the snows and reduced to cannibalism.

Publishers Weekly Review

Oct 14, 2002 – Rarely has a book so wonderfully brought to life the riveting tales of Americans' trek to the Pacific. A prolific British writer taken by the complex aspirations and often desperate hardships of the saints and scoundrels who filled the Western trails, McLynn (Carl Gustav Jung; Napoleon) relates their travails with a brio and understanding too seldom encountered in books on this naturally compelling subject. He vividly paints the unforgiving geography and the obstacles of human nature that often daunted but rarely defeated these pioneers. And he overlooks few of the people. There are plenty of familiar characters here, their stories freshly told: the ill-fated Donner Party, the Whitmans on their way to Oregon, mountain man Jim Bridger, the historian Francis Parkman and the Mormons. What helps make this narrative distinctive is that McLynn doesn't limit himself to known pioneers. His pen captures characters and situations from almost every wagon train that crossed the continent in seven or so pivotal years (1841–1847). Women play a large role in his pages. The outsider's perspective that allows McLynn to offer shrewd comparisons between European and American conditions does make one wish for more analysis. Most of all, though, he leaves the reader with a fuller understanding of the grit and resolve that motivated waves of people seeking escape and opportunity to head West and make the United States a continental nation in fact as well as in name. 16 pages of b&w illus.; maps.
Wagons West
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  • $15.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: History
  • Published: Jun 20, 2002
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Seller: The Random House Group Ltd.
  • Print Length: 544 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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