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Men to Match My Mountains: The Opening of the Far West 1840-1900 (Mainstream of America)

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  786 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
Stone has created a pageant of stories of the great westward drive.
Hardcover, 459 pages
Published August 14th 2009 by Castle Books (first published 1956)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,926)
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Carol
Feb 06, 2008 Carol rated it it was amazing
This was quite a reading project. I'm sure I didn't retain 10% of the factual history of this book but I did find it fascinating. Living in the west myself, I was surprised at how little I knew about household names (they have streets, buildings and towns named after them) such as Crocker, Stanford and Huntington. Interesting to see what kind of men they were. I particularly enjoyed reading about the transcontinental railroad and the Chinese who were brought over by boat to build it. The Bank of ...more
Donna
Feb 22, 2012 Donna rated it really liked it
This is turning out to be a slow read. The book is interesting but I am also struck by how ethnocentric the book is, telling the story of history from a white North American perspective. Native Americans, Californios and Mexicans are only shadow characters in this history. That said, I sometimes found myself fascinated by the events as they unfolded. I learned a lot about the settlement of California, about rail monopolies, mining rushes and the role of real estate speculation in Los Angeles. It ...more
Thad
Mar 08, 2010 Thad rated it really liked it
A really fascinating exploration of the history of the west. The story focuses on the development of California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. Three of the four states were established essentially as byproducts of the exploration, discovery and exploitation of precious minerals (mostly gold and silver), and then the exploitation of those who found the gold and silver. His stories are replete with sad vignettes of those who came so close to success only to fail, and those who succeeded against great ...more
Andrew
Apr 22, 2011 Andrew rated it it was amazing
I recently re-read this wonderful history of the settling of California, Nevada, Colorado and Utah by American settlers during the 1800s. Stone tells a great story and you get it without footnotes or asides, even as he gives ample credit to source material at the end. It is a wonderful introduction to historical material from the period and should inspire more reading on characters or events of the time.

Each of the three times that I've read it, I've come away with different impressions. The fir
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Jessica
Jan 26, 2013 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-west
I have read two Stone novels in the past and have enjoyed them both thoroughly. I expected to enjoy Men to Match My Mountains just as much, and I did, however, it took a while to get into it. As a historian, I found that Stone's manner of writing history was rather jarring at first. I had to get used to his extreme attention to detail and narrative form. It is clear that Stone could have used a good editor for this collection; then again, an editor may have taken away its unique charm.

Within th
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Gerilyn
Feb 21, 2010 Gerilyn rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this book! You know I'm always wild about good history books, but this is a particular gem. The history of the west is filled with larger-than-life characters of the sort we'll never see again (that's not all bad, by the way--a little bit of John C. Fremont, William Sharon and even Brigham Young goes a long way). Irving Stone is a novelist but this book is pure history, one of two that he wrote. Even so, he brings a novelist telling to the tale. I really enjoyed the outsider's view of Mor ...more
Marty
Oct 31, 2014 Marty rated it it was amazing
I don't remember who recommended this book to me. I know that it was years ago and they vividly described how the book contrasts the experiences of the various settlers of the Far West--pioneers, miners, homesteaders, enterprisers. I was fascinated. Since then, that contrast stayed with me. So much so that I based a story I wrote just off of the memory I had of its description. Then, when ordering a bunch of books, I remembered Men to Match My Mountains and eagerly added it to the list. Finally, ...more
David Monson
Jun 10, 2013 David Monson rated it it was amazing
A very unassuming book until you get a little ways in and then BOOM! Some of the craziest events in history I've ever read! Settling the west, Mining for gold, fortunes made and lost, the scandals of the railroads, duels, pioneers, cannibalism, cities burned to the ground, crazy economic situations etc. This book truly gives meaning to the term "wild Wild West." Folks back then were tough as hell. I gained a lot of respect for them because of this book. It will seriously blow your mind!
Rachel Jones
Jan 10, 2013 Rachel Jones rated it it was amazing
Fascinating! I'm a Southern California native, with California native parents, I'm a Mormon with family and cultural ties to Utah, and I have been living in Denver for the past 7 years, so this history was especially interesting to me as I've been to or heard of most of the places Irving Stone writes about. I would recommend this for anyone who loves American history though, as the settling of the West was a unique experience.
Nina
Oct 09, 2014 Nina rated it it was amazing
Best history of the far west I've ever read. Irving Stone wrote a lot of biographical novels. I think this is the only true history book he ever wrote, and it is terrific. It covers the original pioneers, the impacts of the Mormons, the gold and silver rushes, the building of the railroads, politics, consequences for the native Americans, and more. Wonderful details about the historic figures, and high praise for the women, who had a higher survival rate crossing the mountains than the me did. O ...more
John Johnson
Dec 24, 2012 John Johnson rated it it was amazing
My parents introduced this book to me when I was in high school. Since then it continues to be one my favorite books. I admire the bravery, resolve and courage of the early explorers and settlers of the far west. The book shares their stories in a well written tome that's become a classic.
Robin
Jun 29, 2009 Robin rated it really liked it
This is a good book to learn about the settling of the West. I believe it gives a balanced perspective. While its hard for me to remember all the facts put forth in the book (its been awhile) I think it would be a must read for anyone who wants to learn about the American West.
KatieSuzanne
My mom told me my grandpa loved this book and talked about it all the time so I'm trying it out. There's already been a chapter titled "An honest scoundrel thickend the plot" ...so it's sort of awesome already.
Robert Melnyk
Feb 17, 2015 Robert Melnyk rated it liked it
I really like the subject matter of this book, and have read several others on the topic. This book was good, but not the best. I guess I did not take to the writing style and it just seemed to wander a bit too much, and at times I had trouble maintaining my interest. But overall there was a lot of interesting and informative stories about the movement west, including the discoveries of gold and silver, the establishment of California, Utah, and Colorado as states, the Mormons establishing thems ...more
Kurt
Feb 27, 2014 Kurt rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
The story of the opening of the western United States to modern civilization -- specifically the area that currently comprises the states of California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. An amazing amount of absolutely fascinating history is told in this epic volume. The stories include those of the early pioneers traversing the uncharted frontiers, the gold and silver bonanzas that resulted in exponential population increases, the Mormon pioneers who created a flourishing society in an otherwise unco ...more
Kathy
Mar 26, 2014 Kathy rated it really liked it
Shelves: haveread
It was interesting to read this right after reading the Patricia Limerick book, Something in the Soil, as her's was about valuing the perspective of the historian, and this was very traditional and suggested that the historian was documenting the only facts known. This was filled with stories, many of which were new to me. However, it was more a history of California as opposed to a history of the West. Very little about Colorado in this one.
Matt
Mar 02, 2016 Matt rated it liked it
Interesting recap of the history of Utah, Colorado, Nevada, and California between about 1830 and 1890.. The book is written in four separate threads, which gets confusing at time, because the thread for one state will for from 1830-1850, and then the next thread jumps back to 1830.. It was a bit slow to get going for me, but once I got into it I really enjoyed it and learned a lot about the history of those states.
Fran
Dec 14, 2008 Fran rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes American History or the American West
Recommended to Fran by: bought it at an used book sale
Shelves: history
This is quite an old book, and I think I picked it up at a used-book sale. It had set in my closet waiting to be read for years, and I finally got to it. I had read Stone in the past (even in high school, and that's a LONG time ago) and I had forgotten how much I liked him. This is his entertaining and VERY informative take on the Opening of the Far West, notably California, Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. The explanations and details about mining in the first three of those states were AMAZING and ...more
Ken Consaul
Oct 12, 2011 Ken Consaul rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book over a decade ago. I was between jobs and just wanted to pass the time. Quickly, I became engrossed in the history and especially the characters the opened up California, Nevada, Colorado and the rest. From the first emigrants through the gold rush in California to the creation of the railroad spanning the country, this is a period of our history that is seldom addressed in a single volume and the intertwining of this history presented.

Even before I finished reading this I
...more
Geoffrey Hazelton
Jan 23, 2016 Geoffrey Hazelton rated it really liked it
If you have traveled the western states you will enjoy this history of California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. It describes the men and events in this part of the West from 1840 to 1900. The stories are in short chapters making the book very readable.
Denise
Oct 07, 2015 Denise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, the book was alright. I did find it a tad cumbersome and there were some moments when I doubted the author had thought about his words before writing them. For example, he mentions that once the transcontinental railroad was finished, the wagon road was virtually closed. This is simply not true as many thousands of people still traversed the wagon trails westward for decades to come. I thought he researched other aspects quite well, as in the progression and transgressions of the Mormon ...more
Nplin1
Sep 11, 2014 Nplin1 rated it really liked it
Great overview of the non-indigenous settlement of the western US, from about 1840-1870. I would have rated it higher, but it covers a lot of ground and I would have preferred greater depth.
Allison
May 03, 2014 Allison rated it liked it
Overview of the settlement of CA, NV, UT and CO, with lots of detail in some areas and less in others. Lots of early CA history I either never learned or had completely forgotten that I found interesting. However, there is also a great deal of detail on mining and mining practices that got to be pretty old by the latter chapters. At times, Stone's writing style is a bit over-the-top, but it is told in a narrative style that makes some of the tales more engaging.
The book was published in 1956, a
...more
Janis
Aug 17, 2008 Janis rated it liked it
Hoping to learn more about my new home out west, I tackled this examination of the settlement of Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California. The book is so detailed and thorough that I wished it had been broken into four. Utah's evolution into a Mormon homeland is the most fascinating story; the other states follow a depressing path of gold and greed. I enjoyed most reading about the early (pre-49) westward movement, and was fascinated by the efforts of the Chinese laborers who laid railroad tracks ...more
Pete Iseppi
Mar 06, 2016 Pete Iseppi rated it liked it
This book was similar to books by James Michener, in that you have to stick with them for the first 100 or so pages, then they take off.
I'm glad that I did. The winning of the west was not for the faint of heart, that's for sure.
Sue
Oct 08, 2014 Sue rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading this especially as it took me through much of the territory of my life
Jefferson Coombs
Feb 08, 2016 Jefferson Coombs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I really enjoyed this book on the exploration and early settlement of the West.
Sue
Apr 30, 2016 Sue rated it it was amazing
I am a history nut, so I am probably prejudiced, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. History of the founding of Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California. Colorful descriptions, entertaining as well as educational. Long read, but worth it.
Bill Yates
May 19, 2016 Bill Yates rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. Good scholarship and exceptionally readable.
Taylor
Jul 30, 2014 Taylor rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent book, which put into perspective so many bits and pieces about the history of the American west that I had floating around in my head. As a person who grew up in Salt Lake City, I was able to personally relate to a lot of this history. This book was really compelling, yet sometimes also very difficult to read (like the chapter about the Donner party tragedy). This is one that could be read multiple times and not get old.
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In 1923, Stone received his bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley. In the 1960s, Stone received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Southern California, where he had previously earned a Masters Degree from the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences.

When at home, Stone relied upon the research facilities and expertise made available to him by Esther Euler
...more
More about Irving Stone...

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