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The Oregon Trail

Francis Parkman Jr.

Book Overview: 

The book is a breezy, first-person account of a 2 month summer tour of the U.S. states of Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, and Kansas when Parkman was 23. (Summary by Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .There was some foundation for such an apprehension, for the ground was none of the best for a race, and grew worse continually as we proceeded; indeed it soon became desperately bad, consisting of abrupt hills and deep hollows, cut by frequent ravines not easy to pass. At length, a mile in advance, we saw a band of bulls. Some were scattered grazing over a green declivity, while the rest were crowded more densely together in the wide hollow below. Making a circuit to keep out of sight, we rode toward them until we ascended a hill within a furlong of them, beyond which nothing intervened that could possibly screen us from their view. We dismounted behind the ridge just out of sight, drew our saddle-girths, examined our pistols, and mounting again rode over the hill, and descended at a canter toward them, bending close to our horses' necks. Instantly they took the alarm; those on the hill descended; those below gathered into a mass, and the whole got in motion, shouldering . . . Read More

Community Reviews

RTC. . .

In 1846, a young Bostonian named Francis Parkman set out for an adventure on the Oregon Trail. His recollections were published in book form three years later, and while they make interesting reading for anyone researching the opening of the American west, Parkman's account will grate against most m

A good book for history buffs. It doesn't read life a mm ovel. The author handled the research well.

It was ok!

Almost rated 3 stars but...

The Oregon Trail or Let's Shoot Some Buffalo or Indians Suck, Whites Rule.

I really love the way Parkman describes a scene. and for that and that only I'll read more of his stuff and try something else too, what made me not put 3 stars, was that he was talking ab

In my little book reviews I’m always coming back to this idea of sympathetic imagination. Sympathetic imagination, for me, is the ability to put oneself in another person’s place, to imaginatively enter into someone else’s mind and perspective. Exercising sympathetic imagination means withholding ju

"Pur-sioux-ing Exotica"

In the 1970s, British university graduates could take a year off and make their way across Europe, through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, overland to India. It was "breaking away", "a testing of self", "seeing the world", "the search for the other" or maybe just drugs

This surprised me in a number of ways. First, the author doesn’t make it much farther down the Oregon Trail than Wyoming due to ill health, running out of good weather, and an opportunity to do some travelling with an Indian band. Second, the writing holds up well. To me this read more modernly than

This is an illustrated true story by Francis Parkman, an American historian who takes you over the Oregon Trail breaking new frontier in the early American West. Parkman went on a 2,000 mile journey through the wilderness of the American West that would take him six months to reach the end of his tr

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