Children's LiteratureIt is all too easy to forget the rich Native American and Spanish heritage so deeply woven into the history of California and the Southwest. Beginning in the sixteenth century, Spanish soldiers, adventurers and priests journeyed into this area in search of varied treasures. In order to conquer and settle this vast area, roads were developed. Along these byways, a system of missions was established. These missions acted as way stations for travelers. The mission system also served as a means to control the Native American populations living in those areas. While both the mission system and the Spaniards who established it were forced out of the region by political events, the trails that were used remained. Names such as El Camino Royale continue to have a romantic ring. Yet, an enormous amount of labor, deprivation and suffering were connected to the establishment and maintenance of the mission trails. The history of these memorable trails as well as the people who traversed them are the subjects of this illustrated work. Utilizing a great deal of primary source information, the author does an excellent job of describing this chapter in the history of the West. Readers will be treated to a glimpse of a wild and wooly world that was partially shaped by the mission system and trails. 2001, Enslow, $20.95. Ages 10 to 14. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 5-8-Each of these easily accessible volumes provides background material on the early history of its respective area, focusing on archaeological information. The books also trace the development of these important routes, explore the people who traveled them, and comment on the clash of cultures as Euro-Americans encountered Native peoples. Each author carefully points out the contributions of the different groups who traveled these routes during different centuries and reminds readers of the significant contributions of the indigenous people who were often displaced by explorers and settlers. These routes connected cities, provided paths for commerce, and were vital links for people and their story is fascinating. El Camino Real, which is discussed in Mission Trails, eventually linked the missions on the coast of California; the Natchez Trace was an ancient Indian trail that later played an important part in the lives of Andrew Jackson and Meriwether Lewis. These well-researched, readable texts are illustrated with black-and-white photographs and small maps (with no scale). The texts are straightforward and somewhat dry but motivated students who are looking for report material will find them useful. Students looking for something with more visual appeal will find James Crutchfield's The Natchez Trace: A Pictorial History (Rutledge Hill, 1985), with its glorious photographs, more to their liking. Solid, serviceable additions.-Dona J. Helmer, College Gate School Library, Anchorage, AK Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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