The Oregon Trail
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The Oregon Trail

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  916 ratings  ·  85 reviews
This is an EXACT reproduction of a book published before 1923. This IS NOT an OCR’d book with strange characters, introduced typographical errors, and jumbled words. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We be...more
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Published January 1st 2010 by MobileReference (first published 1847)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,956)
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Douglas Dalrymple
In my little book reviews I’m always coming back to this idea of sympathetic imagination. Sympathetic imagination, for me, is the ability to put oneself in another person’s place, to imaginatively enter into someone else’s mind and perspective. Exercising sympathetic imagination means withholding judgment, extending charity, allowing – either by stepping forward or by not retreating – the gap that separates us from others to close at least a little bit. It’s the stuff of cliché (walking in anoth...more
Hortense
Decidedly purple. I did the trail myself and I have the bruises to show for it. Someone had told me there were no cockroaches in Seattle. NOT TRUE. they are real and they are disgusting. You will find them downtown and in Bellevue, in Pioneer Square, too. But that's because of the generally down and out low lifers. Normally they are not there. Drugs aplenty, addicts everywhere. God save Pill Hill from eternal clean-up efforts. Cockroaches living cockroach existences. One day, during a relentless...more
Thom Swennes
Oct 10, 2012 Thom Swennes rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all interested in the US western expansion
The title of this narrative is somewhat ambiguous as in the author’s own words the primary goal of this account is to relay the life and customs of the plains Indians. One would imagine that the title would indicate that the author actually went to Oregon, which he didn’t. He undertook this westward trek in an attempt to satisfy his curiosity as at the time he couldn’t find reliable published references at the time. This book was first published in 1849 and describes the sights, difficulties and...more
Claudia
I was disappointed in this book. I had highly anticipated reading this book for several years. I had the impression it was about a journey from Missouri to Oregon or California on the Oregon Trail.

The author only traveled perhaps half of the trail and did not comment or even mention the iconic landmarks like Chimney Rock. Or what it felt like to ride in a Conestoga Wagon.

Rather the author regaled us with reasons why the "white" man was so superior. Indeed he ranked in order men of the prairie...more
Bob Schnell
Francis Parkman Jr.'s travelogue of the Wild West evokes a time and a place very well. The reader gets a very real sense of what it was like to live with various tribes, participate in buffalo hunts, meet up with wagon trains of emigrants, etc. What is missing is any real journalistic probing of what is going on and what it may mean for those who would follow in his footsteps. Obviously, the author never intended to write anything of the sort, but as a witness to a country in the midst of cultur...more
Marti
There are apparently several versions of this story in existence as the author made multiple revisions over the next 40 years after its initial publication. The edition I read is the first published version which retains material that the author later removed. Most of the removed passages are politically incorrect, though it seems that's not why he removed them.

Although the author believes almost everyone to be his inferior, the story is quite entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny in parts preci...more
Jennifer Zartman
Francis Parkman writes with incredible style in these memoirs about his "tour of curiosity and amusement to the Rocky Mountains." He wanted to learn about the Indians, to "live in the midst of them, and become, as it were, one of them." He spent weeks among the Ogallala, and even though he suffered from dysentery he embraced every adventure that came his way. His descriptions included vivid word pictures like "cacti were hanging like reptiles at the edges of every ravine." I particularly enjoyed...more
Andrew
Parkman's book is often cited by historians as a first-hand story of the western frontier at the time of the Mexican-American War (1846-47). It is colorful and includes historic characters whose path he and his traveling partner would cross, including the Donner Party (though this wagon train wouldn't become led by the Donners until after Parkman met them) and Gen. Steven Kearney, who he met at Fort Leavenworth. Kearney would then become famous (and get the promotion to general) for his march on...more
Robert
An American classic, this is Parkman's personal account of the summer he spent travelling on the Northern Plains, during part of which he lived and hunted Buffalo with a tribe of Oglala Sioux. The book is invaluable for the vivid descriptions of the west. Parkman was on the Plains at a particularly significant moment in American history. He was there in 1846, the first year of the war with Mexico - at a time when troops of regular soldiers and volunteer militia were moving south, riding towards...more
Richard
In 1846 the author traveled on the Oregon Trail as far as Fort Laramie where he then spent many weeks with some of the friendly Indian tribes in the area, the Dakota, the Ogala. He describes buffalo hunts, Indian traditions, the terrible terrain, the food, the lack of water, the many hostile Indian groups that liked nothing better than to kill whites when they found them. Almost all the things a person would wonder about living in the time period. There is some early mention of the “dreaded Morm...more
Mary Soderstrom
For this nebulous book about roads I'm working on, I picked up American historian Francis Parkman's The Oregon Trail this week. My

experience this summer in what was the Oregon Territory started me think about the routes that settlers took going West, and I wanted to refresh my memory.

Whoops! To my surprise I found that I'd not read Parkman's book, although it has been sitting on my shelf for probably 20 years. The historian was in his 20s when he set out with a friend in 1846 to travel across th...more
Lori Mulligan
I began this book because I would like to participate in a reenactment of journeying on the Oregon Trail someday. I completed it because I needed to read a history for my library's summer reading program. Parkman's writing style is elegant. It was eye opening to hear a contemporary's view of Native Americans, emigrants (those journeying West), and Mormons in an unvarnished primary source. Though I couldn't condone any of his racial views, or his dispassionate accounts of dogs killed for the stew...more
Colin
A very strange mix of a book indeed. The pundits are right - the prose is marvellous, the descriptions riveting, the images produced are magnificent portraits of an age long gone. But what a git of a writer! Probably the only truly racist book I've ever read, and quite startling in his portrayal of the indigenous people of the continent. Francis Parkman really does think he comes from a different species to the north American natives. I shall not attempt to expand on his treatment, in the text,...more
KatieSuzanne
This book was cool as far as people going out exploring the frontier and hanging out with Indians. It gave me a lot of mixed emotions as far as thinking they were awesome men out in the saddle, wondering where the hardy men are like this today, and hearing about Indian ways of life. But then they'd talk about how stupid the Indians were and go out and kill a dozen buffalo just for the fun of it because they were "too ugly to live" and I'd hate them. Plus the title is a little miss leading since...more
Glen Pekin
I don't know much about Francis Parkman - New England upper crust. I suppose he would like you if you were one as well. The guy goes west and all is ugliness to him. The ugliness unfortunately is being spoiled by all the ugly people moving west and dispossessing the ugly natives. He helped by killing as many ugly buffalo as possible. He also saw a lot of ugly mountains. Oh, as he tells you over and over - he is sick all the time. He is disturbed by all the other sick people - they are ugly and u...more
Monte Lamb
In 1846 the author spent 5 months on the Oregon Trail between Missouri and the Rocky Mountains. This book tells of his adventures in a very descriptive and detailed fashion. You can learn how they lived on the prairie finding food, clothing, and shelter at this time. It is very informative on how the Indians lived as he stayed in their camps for many nights and days. You can learn how they hunted buffalo and what they did with them after killing them. I was surprised that the style was very easy...more
John
For some reason I had the impression that this was some scholarly study of the mass migration of Americans from the midwest to Oregon country in the mid 1800's. But it's not. It is more of a "what I did on my summer vacation" essay. In 1846 at the age of 23 Parkman and his friend Shaw went from St Louis to Ft Laramie, Wyoming more or less on a whim. They had various adventures with frontiersmen, Indians, and buffalo, and then came home.
Paints a good picture of the Great Plains before they were s...more
Kyle
Let's get this out of the way: this is not a book about traveling the length of the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon. This is the memoir/travelogue of an well educated easterner who decided he wanted to see the prairies and observe the tribes living there.


That said, it's a surprisingly vivid account. Parkman makes his 5 month journey in the summer of 1846, while General Kearney is leading troops on Santa Fe. He is a keen observer. The time he spends living with a Lakota village is particularly w...more
Walter
When a college student returns to school for the fall, there are not many who could tell a better story about what he did for his summer vacation than Francis Parkman. In the spring to fall of 1846, Parkman and a college buddy from Harvard went out west to see what all of the fuss was about. This journey, which seems to have taken about 5 months in total, is the basis for this book which would establish Parkman as an expert on the west, and would be published in several editions, the last of whi...more
Simon
This is an utterly absorbing account of life as a frontiersman. While Parkman did have a tendency to stereotype, it should be noted that this is the concern of a modern readership with modern sensibilities. Read historically, it gives valuable insights into the thinking of an influential man of his times. As a narrative, the book is one of the best of its kind.
Alex
What a mixed bag of thrilling writing and detestable opinion! I suppose I should have known when starting this book that it wouldn't just be a detached evocation of old Western life, but also a record of the horrible prejudices wrapped up in manifest destiny fever.

Parkman wasn't so much a historian as he was a historical trophy hunter. He set out along the trail, supposedly to document Indian customs, but as you read, it becomes clear that he's not interested in the native tribes as human being...more
Justin Mahaffie
This was my "bathroom break book," and as it was ~300 pages of smallish type, it seemed to take forever to read through. It was repetitive at points, although he was journaling a 1700 mile trek, much of which involved prarie, buffalo, and indians. It seemed as though every chapter included a buffalo hunt, which involved the beast being shot behind the shoulder, at which point "bloody foam flew from his jaws and his great tongue lolled about." That certainly didn't detract from the enjoyment of...more
Sherry (sethurner)
The Oregon Trail has been on my want-to-read list for ages. It probably was listed on my college-bound reading list back in the 1960s. When we took a trip to Oregon last fall I decided to tackle it at last. Unfortunately, the meandering nature of the book made it difficult for me to want to finish, and in fact I skimmed the last 100 pages. In small doses the book has first-person experience of Westward Expansion to recommend it. Parkman decided to travel west from St. Louis to the Rockies in ord...more
Alesa
This was a historically accurate account of the very first group of settlers who crossed the prairies from Missouri to Oregon, creating the Oregon Trail. It followed the life of a (fictional, I believe) widow who had her own wagon and hired a man to help her do the trip, in order to be a school teacher in Oregon. There were a lot of fascinating things in the account, but none that I hadn't read previously in other books like this. The story was well-told.

Here were the reasons I didn't give it mo...more
Rajjib
The Oregon Trail
by Francis Parkman
অরিগনের পথে
ফ্রান্সিস পার্কম্যান

দেশটি বদলে যাচ্ছে প্রতিদিন। আমাদের পেছনে বিশাল, ওষর মরুভূমি, শুকনো ঘাসে ভরা। সামনে চোখজুড়ানো সবুজ সমভূমি, গাছে ফুল ফুটে আছে। মোষের বদলে অসংখ্য প্রেইরী মুরগি চোখে পড়ল। ডজনখানেক মুরগি ধরে ঝোলায় পুরে নিলাম রাস্তা থেকে না নেমেই।
তিন-চার দিন বাদে কাউন্সিল গ্রোভে পৌছে গেলাম। এ যেন নতুন এক অভিজ্ঞতা। মনে হলো মহাকায় অ্যাশ, ওক, এলম, হিকরি এবং ম্যাপল গাছের খিলানের নিচ দিয়ে চলছি। সবগুলো গাছে আঙুরলতা ঝুলছে, ফলে ভর্তি। জঙ্গল অদ্ভুত নীরব। আমাদের...more
Wendy
I know that this is an American Classic written in the heyday of the belief in America's 'Manifest Destiny'. However, I have to sacrifice a star (even though it is altogether a compelling read) as some of the racist passages (as he talks about the ugliness of the Indians and Mexicans) and his descriptions of how his friend just wanted to go out and kill himself an Indian (and he did) not great bedtime reading. For its time, though, it is a terrific adventure, marred a little by the repetitions o...more
Scott
Two things immediately struck me when I began reading this book. First, that the writing style was so contemporary. Clearly Parkman was one of those writers who helped to clarify and refine the standard American style. Second, was "Why didn't I read this as a kid?" Because I really would have enjoyed it a lot as a kid.

The book is full of adventure and picturesque images of the American west before too much settlement had forever altered it.

I found some great spiritual/theological material in t...more
David
This is the kind of book that you hear about as a classic all through school and college, and you avoid it because dried up academics are telling you to read it, but I enjoyed it because I had been reading books about Indians and settling the west as well as delving into genealogy. Anyone interested in U.S. history should read this book.
Kathy
A great first-hand account of life in the West (Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado) in 1845. Great details about the land, the Indians and their way of life, and buffalo hunting. Special to read because it is about people going West before gold was discovered in 1849.
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