As a way of learning about the ways of the Plains Indians, as a basis for his proposed history of the struggle for control of North America by the English and French, Parkman set off from Westport, Missouri, on the Oregon Trail in spring of 1846. Only 23, he returned in September, 1846, with the story of his trip and his observations on all he had seen and done. The book documents the struggles the expedition encountered, and includes Parkman's predictions that both the buffalo and the Native American way of life will disappear. It remains a classic tale of the pioneer spirit found in nineteenth-century America.
In 1846, a young man of privilege left his comfortable Boston home to embark on a strenuous overland journey to the untamed West. This timeless account of Parkman's travels and travails provides an expressive portrait of the rough frontiersmen, immigrants, and Native Americans he encounters, set against the splendor of the unspoiled wilderness. While Parkman's patrician air and unabashed racism sometimes jolt the modern reader, this remains a colorful classic by one of the 19th century's most prominent narrative historians. A circumspect abridgment and a laudable interpretation by veteran narrator Frank Muller enrich this audio version. Highly recommended.Linda Bredengerd, Hanley Lib., Univ. of Pittsburgh, Bradford, Pa.