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Preview — Astoria by Peter Stark
Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival
In the tradition of The Lost City of Z and Skeleton in the Zahara, Astoria is the thrilling, true-adventure tale of the 1810 Astor Expedition, an epic, now forgotten, three-year journey to forge an American empire on the Pacific Coast. Peter Stark offers a harrowing saga in which a band of explorers battled nature, starvation, and madness to establish the first American se...more
In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase had brought the young United States all the land draining into the Mississippi (at least according to our side of the story). The President wanted to know all he could about what he had bought, particularly as there were still some disagreements going on over the breadth of the purcha ...more
I have an interest in this time in American history and in the men who forged their names in history as the men who built America and John Jacob Astor is without doubt one of the most interesting men of this time.
The book Astoria is an unfolding adventure over the course of three years, from 1810 to 1813, a tale of the harrowing times in American histo ...more
A word of caution: it’s been awhile since I’ve read this book. I really liked it, but I’m kind of sketchy on the facts. As Casey Stengel was fond of saying, “You could always look it up.”
Over two hundred years ago, one of the items that drove the world economy was furs – beaver pelts, sea otter furs and the like. It kept people warm and Chinese officials had some sort of fetish for them and were willing ...more
It's about a bunch of hand-selected men and haphazardly formed groups of them setting out to create a new "empire" in the previously uncharted Coastal Northwest. One endlessly and expertly funded expedition, to be certain, but otherwise foolishly and terrifyingly led. It's ab ...more
"It would be nine thousand miles and three and a half months to Cape Horn, and that would mark only the halfway point to the Northwest Coast."
"Explored by Lewis and Clark only six years earlier, the Missouri was the only known route across the vas ...more
The author, Peter Stark, details how neither trip went as planned. The Overland party learned that due to Lewis's killing of a Blackfeet, and leaving a ...more
and READS like fiction.
It is the story of the founding of Astoria, Oregon, founded on the Columbia River by John Jacob Astor to bring furs and fur trading to the West Coast and from there, China. It was an auspicious and brave (and perhaps some would think) reckless endeavor. Before its founding in 1811, only one group, headed by Lewis and Clark, had ventured this far into the West.
There are her ...more
Astoria is the tale of John Jacob Astor's attempt to create a global trading market for furs from what is now the Northwestern USA to China and England in exchange for goods from those countries back to the USA. It was a huge vision that Tho ...more
Regardless of history's consensus, or opinions from author and academics, Astor and Jefferson maybe visionaries ahead of their time, Hunt and Thorn maybe the best consequential leaders at the time, I hold esteem to: Duncan McDougal ("bad" guy or not), Donald MacKenzie (with intelligence and courage to challenge Astor's strategy/scheme) ...more
Just shy of 4 ⭐️, this book is a really good look at the first American settlement on the West Coast - Astoria (in what is now Oregon).
It’s a saga, taking place over land & sea, amidst the War of 1812, across the globe, with interactions with Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, & even a Russian Count, thwarting Astor’s plans to establish a global fur trade.
Essential reading of a forgotten piece of American history. ...more
What most surprised me was how parts of this (very true, well-researched) story read like a thriller. Other sections weren't quite as adrenaline-pumping, but were equally fascinating; I've been telling everyone about how amazing sea otter* fur is and also how they have a little skin pocket in their armpits into which they tuck ...more