This short book is an introduction to eight women who traveled overland across the country during the 1800’s, most leaving a written record during her...moreThis short book is an introduction to eight women who traveled overland across the country during the 1800’s, most leaving a written record during her journey either in a journal or long letters home. Each woman had her own unique story and personality which was portrayed well. One woman, Julia Anna Archibald (Holmes) was a very early feminist, who did not go by her husband’s last name and wore bloomers instead of the long skirts that women typically wore during the long journey. She was perhaps the first woman to climb Pikes Peak. We also meet Clara Brown, a recent emancipated slave who was either given or bought her freedom. She went to Colorado in search of one of her daughters. She had such a generous spirit to all, particularly the poorer people and Native Americans. We meet six other brave and strong women.
The book definitely leaves one with a desire to read more about each one’s journey. Thankfully after each woman’s story were a few specific references for further reading about her. At the end of the book even more references were provided for further information about women on the trail, and not only of books, but also museums and other media.
PS: I would have given the book a higher rating if it was longer, just too short! (less)
I debated on how to rate this book. I didn’t find it as compelling as the other “People” books, as I call the Gear’s main series. (The series was call...moreI debated on how to rate this book. I didn’t find it as compelling as the other “People” books, as I call the Gear’s main series. (The series was called: First North Americans, around the 12th book the series was titled North America's Forgotten Past) Their books are always based in archaeology and history as much as possible at the time of their research and writing. The “People” series tends to follow a pattern in the writing style, often switching between many points-of-view, have a Spirit being as one of the voices, and often even having some mystery-type element. Due to the number of characters there isn’t any depth of development, but it’s a fun read with some history thrown in. Usually a quick read as they are entertaining. I mention this as a comparison….
Back to this current book, the new series; the expectation is more of the same, with some slight changes. And that’s mostly what I found. In the introduction the Gear’s state they have often been asked to write post-contact books but had been reluctant. I think that reticence is found in this first book. They changed the style slightly, now there were only two points-of-view, really one main one, but it was weak. There were some stumbling points along the way. The first person POV didn’t feel like their strong writing style. I found that I was not rushing through this book as quickly as the other novels. I didn’t enjoy it as much. And then there’s the violence, certainly that time period for the Native People’s encountering the Spanish was not pleasant, but the scenes were gruesome. I felt at times this book was slanted, with a determined point to make. The Spaniards never once have a redeeming quality. The converted Indios don’t act with any remorse or conflict. Some of these parts are hard to completely accept. You have stereotypes and one-sidedness that makes for a weaker novel.
So how to rate the book…well as you saw first off I did give this a three. I took off a star for the writing weakness, and almost another for the stereotypes, but then with my previous experience reading the Gears I knew what I was getting into (lacking character depth). So then I asked myself would I read the next book, and well, I have to say yes, so that moves it back up a point. This book certainly does set up for a series of the same character leading an opposition to the white man invasion to the land. We all know how the story ends, how it goes, and that is one reason why the Gear’s were reluctant to give this time period a treatment. I just hope with the next book they good more into the writing and gave it their best. (less)