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The Plains Across: The Overland Emigrants and the Trans-Mississippi West, 1840-60
The most honored book ever released by the University of Illinois Press, The Plains Across was the result of more than a decade's work by its author. Here, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Oregon Trail, is a paperback reissue that includes the notes, bibliography, and illustrations contained in the 1979 cloth edition.
Paperback, Abridged, 592 pages
Published October 1st 1993 by University of Illinois Press
(first published January 1st 1992)
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This is an incredible book telling of the cross country wagon train experience. It tells so much more than we are accustomed to hearing. About the eastbound traffic, the casualties from gun accidents, the relief expeditions for the West Coast, the competition in jumping off places. This is a totally new look at the Westward migration.
This was the second in a series of antebellum western emigrant histories that I read (following Hard Road West, Meldhal). Unfortunately, it's the only such book Unruh will ever write (he's dead). It's a good overview of the different types of people and the reasons behind the different waves of emigration. It's arranged by topic rather than sequentially, which I found a little difficult at times. There are sections that are basically a literature review; it's more of a thesis than a reader's boo ...more
This book is a very comprehensive volume on the Oregon and California trails. It seems to cover every aspect of the journey from preparation to arrival; and the trials the emigrants went through to get to the other side of the Sierra Nevadas. I highly recommend this book for students of the American West, specifically of Westward migration.