The Oregon Trail : an American saga

by Dary, David.

Format: Print Book 2005
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
Northern Tier Regional Library Nonfiction 978.02 DARY
Location  Northern Tier Regional Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  978.02 DARY
In today's world of jet airplanes and smooth highways, it is nearly impossible to imagine the hardships faced by the thousands of people who headed west along the great Oregon Trail. In this detailed and engaging account, historian David Dary recounts the full saga of the trail's history,from its creation in the early 1800's, to its peak during the '49 Gold Rush, its rapid decline following the completion of the transcontinental railroad, and finally, its revival as a modern day historical treasure.Dary introduces us to the pioneers: trailblazers, fur-traders, and missionaries, who made the first journeys to Oregon County, an internationally disputed territory comprising present-day Washington, Oregon, and California. We learn of the road's steadily increasing popularity, as economic problemsor the promise of adventure and wealth lead thousands of homesteaders, gold-rushers, and entrepreneurs to pile their hopes and dreams into wagons and head west. Using journals and letters, as well as company and expedition reports, public records and newspaper stories, Dary takes us inside the dayto day experiences of the travelers, as they risked ruin at every step from disease, weather, and human deceit. Trail.Through Dary's expert and comprehensive history, we learn how the events of the day turned a small trickle of pioneering men and women into the greatest mass migration in American history.
The exploration of Oregon
Discovering the Oregon Trail
John McLoughlin and the missionaries
The American occupation of Oregon
The emigrants of 1843
Self-rule and more emigrants
Fifty-four forty or fight
The year of decision
New Zion, more emigrants, and a massacre
A lull before the rush
The gold rush of 1849
The hectic year of 1850
The changing road
More change and civil war
Decline of the trail
Rebirth of the trail.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "The fabled Oregon Trail was traversed by a quarter of a million people whose experiences, as often is the way with history, then faded into oblivion. In 1906, an old pioneer who had taken the trail in 1852 determined to commemorate it with an oxen-drawn reenactment of his journey. Alas, Twist the ox expired trailside, but Ezra Meeker's campaign succeeded in restoring the Oregon Trail to American historical consciousness. Meeker's tale typifies Dary's steady storytelling style in this superb chronicle of the trail: he eschews embellishment and hews to fact, permitting readers an unadorned but palpably realistic rendition of what traveling the trail was like. For many, as Dary aptly observes, the migration was a monumental event in their lives, one documented by the anecdotes Dary selects from the 2,000 extant journals and recollections. Tracing the routes and topography of the trail, Dary integrates the attraction Oregon and the West held for mountain men, missionaries, Mormons, and forty-niners into a comprehensive history. Complemented by the author's The Santa Fe Trail (2000), it is bound to become a staple in collections about the Old West. --Gilbert Taylor Copyright 2004 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "This is another lively work from one of our best chroniclers of the Old West. Dary (Cowboy Culture; The Santa Fe Trail; etc.) looks at the men and women who trekked the trouble-strewn paths to the nation's northwest coast. It's an epic American story of limitless hopes, searing losses, pioneers, missionaries and not a few bad characters. Dary opens with 18th-century maritime explorers and carries us into the late 19th century, when the trail west from Independence, Mo., had ceded its importance to the railroads. In the shadow of such great earlier historians as Francis Parkman and Bernard De Voto, Dary is matter-of-fact and exhaustive. Unfortunately, the facts are sometimes overwhelming, and a reader yearns for some analysis. But Dary makes up for this lack by salting his account with quotations from travelers' diaries and illustrations. He follows the rutted way of keeping the Indian tribes subsidiary to the story. Yet his closing chapter on the Oregon Trail's rebirth as a tourist draw in the 20th century is a real contribution to modern western lore. It's hard to imagine a more informative introduction to the westering itch along the Oregon Trail and to those who responded to it. 86 b&w illus., 7 maps. Agent, Spectrum Literary. Alternate selection of the History Book Club and the Crossings Book Club. (Nov. 10) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Frontier and pioneer life -- Oregon National Historic Trail.
Oregon National Historic Trail -- History.
West (U.S.) -- History -- 1848-1860.
Publisher Oxford ; New York :Oxford University Press,2005
Language English
Notes Originally published: New York : Knopf, c2004.
Description xvi, 414 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 379-391) and index.
ISBN 9780195224009 (pbk. : alk. paper)
0195224000 (pbk. : alk. paper)
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