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The Year of Decision 1846 (Trilogy of the West #2)

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4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  146 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Year of Decision 1846 tells many fascinating stories of the U.S. explorers who began the western march from the Mississippi to the Pacific, from Canada to the annexation of Texas, California, and the southwest lands from Mexico. It is the penultimate book of a trilogy which includes Across the Wide Missouri (for which DeVoto won both the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes) and T ...more
ebook, 576 pages
Published June 24th 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1943)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 434)
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Wanda
James K. Polk may just be my favorite president. And we did NOT steal it. We won it in a fair fight. Get over it, losers!
Jeff
Sludgy. Great content, fusty prose that kept mucking it up. Great for its time, no doubt, but now a museum piece...
dianne budd
What a fantastic history. The somewhat insane people who sustained a roughly 50% mortality - walking, pushing, dragging all they have across 3000+ mostly hostile miles to land in a totally unknown geography; and at that point not part of a country they knew.
California's written history is about 2 minutes long. My father knew his great grandmother well - distinct and complex memories; she arrived with Sam Brannan in San Francisco in 1846 on the ship Brooklyn whose contents doubled the Euro popula
...more
Glen Pekin
This guy could write history. You might think it is out dated but put him on you history shelf.
Craig Knott
It's an amazingly detailed account of one of the most pivotal year in the American History. The book is thick 500 pg read set up in chapters that cover every major player from J.k. Polk to John C. Freemont, to the Donner Party, to the invasion of Mexico by Zach Taylor and W. Scott to Brigham Young and the Saints exodus. The Pulitzer Prize winning author, Bernard Devoto, was actually raised in Ogden in the early 20th century and moved on to be a profeesor at Harvard and one of the Ages most respe ...more
Bob H
Bernard de Voto's prose was brilliant, and not always complementary to his American characters. Note this, which still rings true:
"... nor the creation in newsprint of a great public hero, is an invention of our age, which has not seen any betterment of the technique that erected [John C.] Fremont into a martyr ... That creation was almost enough to wreck the republic. It was enough to convince innumerable people born since the advertising stopped and its proprietors died ... that incompetence i
...more
Clytee
I found this book in a used book store and it jumped off the shelf at me. Mine is the original published in 1942, a hardback with the dustcover and I just loved it! It is a long read at 500+ pages, but it was so much of so many different histories that I have learned put together. It is about "some people who went west in 1846". It was the year the War with Mexico was started (during which my great-great grandfather spent a year in the Army), tells of the Donner party (I have read a lot about th ...more
Jan C
I read this in college. Borrowed my parents' copy from 1943 or some such year.

He was so thorough. Did anything happen in 1846 that he didn't cover? Probably not.

Possibly a little too thorough when it came to the details of the Donner Party. That part was just revolting. To find out real details of what starvation can drive people to. And how stupidity can really put you in danger.

But when, I think it was John Reade, was walking off, determined to get to civilization or freeze in the process, I
...more
Marius
Great review of the migration of 1846 - Covers everything from Childe Harold's imaginary campaigns to the Donner Party's cannibalistic end (which is a gruesome read) DeVoto's humor reminds me a lot of Bukowski. He's kind of a non-drunk Bukowski writing history. Great stuff.
Tim Basuino
If you're the type of person who likes short stories about heroes of the Old West, this book is not for you. Very detailed discussions about the Donner Party, the Mexican War, and the acts that led to Sowing The Seeds of The Civil War.
Bruce
Another good history of the far west, chronicling a year that opened it to US citizens following the Mexican War.
John Nelson
Volume One of Bernard Devoto's three-volume history of America's westward expansion and Manifest Destiny.
James Valentine
a delightful read of the many facts setting the stage for the coming of the great American Civil War.
Nomad
this is one great book....it is a history book that reads like a great novel....what a year 1846
Gary
The book that gave me the basis for my thesis. I owe it all to this little blue book.
David Gross
Read this one a long time ago and just started to read it again. Fascinating stuff.
Jeff
Very informative and entertaining as well.
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Dec 27, 2014
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Bernard Augustine DeVoto was an American historian and author who specialized in the history of the American West.
More about Bernard DeVoto...
Across the Wide Missouri The Course of Empire The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto Mark Twain's America The Western Paradox: A Conservation Reader

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