So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon and California, 1812-1848

So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon and California, 1812-1848

by Will Bagley
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So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon and California, 1812-1848 by Will Bagley

The story of America’s westward migration is a powerful blend of fact and fable. Over the course of three decades, almost a million eager fortune-hunters, pioneers, and visionaries transformed the face of a continent—and displaced its previous inhabitants. The people who made the long and perilous journey over the Oregon and California trails drove this swift and astonishing change. In this magisterial volume, Will Bagley tells why and how this massive emigration began.

While many previous authors have told parts of this story, Bagley has recast it in its entirety for modern readers. Drawing on research he conducted for the National Park Service’s Long Distance Trails Office, he has woven a wealth of primary sources—personal letters and journals, government documents, newspaper reports, and folk accounts—into a compelling narrative that reinterprets the first years of overland migration.

Illustrated with photographs and historical maps, So Rugged and Mountainous is the first of a projected four-volume history, Overland West: The Story of the Oregon and California Trails. This sweeping series describes how the “Road across the Plains” transformed the American West and became an enduring part of its legacy. And by showing that overland emigration would not have been possible without the cooperation of Native peoples and tribes, it places American Indians at the center of trail history, not on its margins.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780806141039
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
Publication date: 03/22/2010
Series: Overland West Series
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 746,951
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Will Bagley is an independent historian who has written about overland emigration, frontier violence, railroads, mining, and the Mormons. Bagley has published extensively over the years and is the author and editor of many books, articles, and reviews in professional journals. Bagley is the series editor of Arthur H. Clark Company's documentary history series, KINGDOM IN THE WEST: The Mormons and the American Frontier. Bagley has been a Wallace Stegner Centennial Fellow at the University of Utah and the Archibald Hannah, Jr. Fellow in American History at Yale University's Beinecke Library. Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows has won numerous awards including a Spur Award from Western Writers of America, the Bancroft History Prize from the Denver Public Library, Westerners International Best Book, and the Western History Association Caughey Book Prize for the most distinguished book on the history of the American West. So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon and California, 1812-1848 is the first of four volumes of Overland West: The Story of the Oregon and California Trails Series.

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So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon and California, 1812-1848 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Utah-Keva More than 1 year ago
Having listened to many of Mr. Bagley's lectures, I was excited, but also a little bit wary, of this book. His lectures can either be highly entertaining and informative or full of not-so-hidden agendas. So it was refreshing to find this book extremely enjoyable and full of little known details of life on the trail. Sometimes arduous and depressing, the narrative is taken from journals and stories of all types of travelers - the well known, and most importantly - the little known. It is the little known emigrants that have added the most value to the book, the first of a four part series. Additionally, there is ample background from the Native American viewpoint which is necessary to ensure completeness of the westward migration tale. All valuable details you won't learn in history class. Overall, I found the beginning series agenda-free and worth a place on any historian's bookshelf. The primary fault would be the lack of an over-riding narrative or timeline, which would have helped keep things focused. With so many detailed stories, it can be easy to lose the overall direction of the work. I only hope Mr. Bagley will be well enough to finish his next three volumes. I am eagerly awaiting the second!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Any one who is interested in reading about the trail blazers of the west this is a must to read. Will Bagleyy describes the movement west from the trappers to the early pioneers traveling to Oregon and California from 1812 until1849. A wonderful incite on their good times and struggles. Will Bagley uses hundreds of diaries, journals and letters sent home, as documentation of the travels of the overlanders as they followed Manifest Destiny.
Rupert1 More than 1 year ago
This book includes a wealth of information from obscure sources, which is mostly refreshing and interesting, but I found the organization somewhat disjointed.  Having read much about this period in history I found this one of the more tedious reads.  Inclusion of a wealth of information from many previously obscure sources is refreshing and interesting but reading the book was not especially pleasurable and did not add any new insights.  I am left with the impression that this book is, in part, a cobbled together mass of research that, while exhausting, is not tied together into a coherent whole.