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Overview

The Oregon Trail by Francis Parkman, Frederic Remington, Elmer Nathaniel Feltskog

Francis Parkman set out west from St. Louis in order to see the prairie for himself and "to observe the Indian character". Along the way he encountered some "unexpected impediments" to this aim. In fact, Parkman's whole journey seems full of misadventures, which he describes with dry good humor and a charming ability to laugh at himself.

The series of minor disasters makes The Oregon Trail entertaining, but it is also a valuable narrative of life on the prairie and has some wonderfully detailed descriptions of Indian villages and customs. The author is clearly impressed with native sportsmanship, and brings the thrill of the hunt to life in vivid detail.

Parkman has a boundless fascination for all he sees, and seems to fall in love with the prairie itself over the course of the book. He transforms this enthusiasm into his descriptions, which often verge on the poetic.

Unlike many explorers of the West, Parkman is not hardedged, and while he is accurate, he is also somewhat romantic. This book is not saturated with the violence that characterizes much literature of this genre. His portraits of native people, while not always flattering, seem good-spirited.

This is not a scientific or anthropological treatise, but Parkman has a passion for these subjects which, coupled with his unique adventures, makes this a very appealing narrative.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780299050702
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date: 05/01/1969
Pages: 75

About the Author

Francis Parkman was born in Boston in 1823 and is best known for his masterly seven-volume history, France and England in North America, and for the annual prize awarded by the Society of American Historians in his honor. He died in 1893.

David Levin was the Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia. His books on American historical writing included History as Romatic Art: Bancroft, Prescott, Motley, and Parkman; In Defense of Historical Literature; and Cotton Mather: The Young Life of the Lord’s Remembrancer, 1663–1703. He was the editor of Francis Parkman’s masterpiece, France and England in North America.

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The Oregon Trail 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Budd More than 1 year ago
Thomas Parkman paints a very clear and detailed picture of life among the Dakota Indians prior to the American Civil War. It is very intriguing to see what life was like and how this group of native americans and whites got along in the pre-civil war era. It also shows the thoughts of the time that helped to lead to the almost total annihilation of the Great Bison Herds of the Great Plains. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in getting a deeper understanding of the American West.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love old books the best because they really tell it like it is, before everyone started worrying about being politically correct. Francis Parkman killed buffalo for sport, thought Indians were second class citizens and pretty much lived the Oregon trail the way it was at the time, believing the things that a lot of people believed then. That is real history, like it or not. He seemed aware of what the white man was doing to the Indians but didn't seem too concerned, that is how it was lived back then. That's how I want to read it, not the Hollywood version. An awesome book!
Ann Crawford More than 1 year ago
A book quite descriptive of long gone places, people and activities on the trail west. I can easily imagine the difficulties of life traveling through indian territory. The author was there in 1846 and you sense the reality of his point of view from the actual time.
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