Wagons West by Frank McLynn
The Epic Story of America's Overland Trails

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In all the sagas of human migration, few can top the drama of
the journey by midwestern farmers to Oregon and California in the
years 1840-49. Seeking the promised land, these travelers trekked two
thousand miles by covered wagon from Missouri to their destinations on
the Pacific coast. Although they used mountain men as guides, they
went almost literally into the unknown, braving dangers from hunger,
thirst, disease, drowning, and Native Americans. The early migrants
got through only after herculean efforts, but later in the decade
complacency set in, and the result was disastrous, especially in the
case of the Donner party, marooned in the snow and reduced to
cannibalism. Using original diaries and memoirs, Frank McLynn
underscores the incredible heroism and dangerous folly on the overland
trails. His well-informed and authoritative year-by-year narrative
includes many thematic investigations: the events leading up to the
opening of the trails, the wagons and animals used by the pioneers,
the role of women, relations with Native Americans, and much else. The
narrative builds to a climax with the dreadful tale of the Donner
party but achieves closure with the triumphant story of Brigham Young
and the Mormons. Sandwiched between the era of the fur trappers and
the post-1849 gold fever, this account of the pioneering years in the
overland trails abounds with high drama, tragedy, and triumph in the
face of overwhelming odds. It also brilliantly chronicles one of the
principal chapters in the conquest of the North American continent,
and the creation of the United States as we know it today.

About Frank McLynn

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Frank McLynn has over twenty books to his name, including his acclaimed biographies of Napoleon and Richard the Lionhearted. His other books include Richard and John: Kings at War; Villa and Zapata; 1066; Heroes & Villains; and Napoleon: A Biography. McLynn is a graduate of Oxford and London University. He lives in London.
Published December 31, 2002 by Grove Press. 509 pages
Genres: History. Non-fiction

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