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The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  3,223 ratings  ·  511 reviews
Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David McCullough rediscovers an important and dramatic chapter in the American story—the settling of the Northwest Territory by dauntless pioneers who overcame incredible hardships to build a community based on ideals that would come to define our country.

As part of the Treaty of Paris, in which Great Britain recognized the new United State
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Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Simon & Schuster
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Michael Mudlaff Yes and No. As the writer below describes, McCullough acknowledges the historical situation as it existed and transpired during the period of the…moreYes and No. As the writer below describes, McCullough acknowledges the historical situation as it existed and transpired during the period of the settling of the Ohio Territory by late 18th and early 19th century Americans. However, the book is history, not commentary, so if you are looking for a book to tell you who the enemies were, you might look elsewhere.(less)
Cindy Schilling No, this book is about the Northwest Territory that was established after the American Revolution, and consisted of the present-day states of Ohio,…moreNo, this book is about the Northwest Territory that was established after the American Revolution, and consisted of the present-day states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The focus is on the history of Marietta, Ohio. (less)
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3.74  · 
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 ·  3,223 ratings  ·  511 reviews


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Brina
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, ohio, nonfiction
The summer is heating up; school is finally out, and for me that means reading a variety of books about Americana and what makes the country a great place to live. I have lived in Ohio for nearly twelve years and admittedly know little about the state’s history besides the unit my kids study in fourth grade social studies. They do have an excellent teacher, but what they study in grammar school barely scratches the surface of Ohio history. When I found out that master American storyteller David ...more
Diane S ☔
2.5 There were parts I enjoyed, but parts that were flitting all over the place. I have been to Marietta, many times. Love it there, so it was interesting to see how it was named. Also the settling of parts of the country I had never read before. Strange to think that when my state, Illinois was admitted into the union in 1818, the total population was only 36,000. Enjoyed the ending parts with John Quincy Adams, that was touching. As a cohesive whole though, I found it lacking. There were so ma ...more
Chrissie
Going into this book with little information, I picked it up based on the merits of David McCullough’s earlier books. From the start, I was immediately struck by its excessive quantity of detail, the multitude of individuals referred to and that the prose did not flow well. I went to Simon & Schuster’s book website, searching for clarity:

Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David McCullough rediscovers an important and dramatic chapter in the American story—the settling of the Northwest Territ
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Minosh
May 04, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is infuriating. The fact that books that are so blatantly offensive towards Indigenous people can still be published in 2019 is disgusting. This book ignores decades of scholarship by Native and allied historians of the region in favor of nationalist propaganda. Skip this and read Susan Sleeper-Smith's book Indigenous Prosperity and American Conquest instead, which covers the Ohio River valley in a similar time period and argues that far from being a "primeval wilderness," this region ...more
Linda
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David McCullough always writes appealing books and this one (read from an eARC provided by Edelweiss) does not disappoint. I've always learned from his books but this one was on a subject that I was not at all acquainted with: the first American settlements in the Ohio territory. I knew that the Ohio territory was the first 'west' that Americans went flocking to but no other details and I even ended up hauling out an atlas so I could figure out where exactly these first pioneers settled.
Unlike
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Janis
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s always a treat to have a new David McCullough book! In The Pioneers, he tells the story of the early settlers of the Ohio River Valley, from those who first moved to the frontier and broke land to those who created communities and governing bodies. While the story he tells is specific, focusing on particular families and the region that is now Marietta, Ohio, it gave me a great sense of the changes and movements of those early years of 19th century-America – and how they were linked to our ...more
Luke
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately, especially in this day and age, people want their beliefs and their political messages/rhetoric justified in every book they read (or don't read for that matter). The reviews/ratings for this book will surely reflect that, since revisiting well known early Americans and their roles in Native American treatment and slavery are hot topics today. Westward expansion hits on both topics.

McCullough has never pandered to this political crowd (on either side), and this book is no differen
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David Eppenstein
Objectively this is a good book but it disappointed me. Since it did disappoint me I should be giving it two stars instead of three but my disappointment might be somewhat unfair and subjective so I give it three in recognition of my failings and not the author's. When this book's publication was being promoted it caught my immediate attention. McCullough is certainly no lightweight historian and the subject of the Northwest Territory and its early settlers was an intriguing subject. I read Alla ...more
Lizy
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Note: I received the ARC of this book
Secondary note: this review has been re-written after seeing the final dust cover.

I liked this book. I think McCullough does a unique, interesting take on American history by focusing on one specific town in Ohio as an example of what the west was like at the end of the 1700s and up until the Civil War. It was a fascinating read.

That said, I didn't have the final dust jacket blurb when I read the ARC. I thought it was going to be about the entire northwest te
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Christopher S.
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
David McCullough is a national treasure. There, I said it. I am a McCullough fan without apology or reservation. There are certain authors that you simply read whatever they write. Period. David McCullough is one of those authors for me. And yes, did I say it? He is a national treasure.

“The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West” by David McCullough is a history of the brave and hardy men and women who left New England to stake their claim in the Northwest
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Elizabeth A.G.
It is interesting that David McCullough states that he essentially stumbled across the idea of this book about the pioneers who started the development of the Northwest Territories in Ohio (and eventually in the future states of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin) when he was invited to Ohio University to give "the commencement address in tribute to the university's 200th anniversary" in 2004. When learning the oldest building on the campus was called Cutler Hall, he learned about Manasse ...more
Lori
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy McCullough's readable United States histories. This volume, focusing on settlement of the Northwest Territory and specifically of Marietta, Ohio, was no exception. McCullough knows how to tell the story in an engaging manner, incorporating discoveries from his research. The book focused primarily on more prominent settlers of Marietta and its surrounding areas although we learn bits and pieces about the settlement of the rest of the state, especially the Cincinnati area, and receive some ...more
Brian Willis
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In many ways, this book is a biography of the town of Marietta, Ohio, and the settlers who relocated there after the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. The NWO usually gets a paragraph or two in other history books, nearly a footnote to the Constitutional Convention and other developments of the era. By charting Marietta from 1787-1863 (the death of the last of his subjects in the book), we see how the freedom granted by the NWO allowed settlers to push US boundaries westward.

David McCullough never di
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Donna
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David McCullough employs his delightful narrative style to tell the story of the first settlement of the Ohio Company in the new Northwest Territory in 1788. The settlement is on the banks of the Ohio River in what is now the city of Marietta. He tells the story through several figures who played key roles in the establishment and growth of this frontier town: Revolutionary War General Rufus Putnam; Massachusetts minister Manasseh Cutler and his son Ephraim; carpenter and architect Joseph Baker; ...more
Scott  Hitchcock
Jun 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
I've read a few books by the author and to this point all had been good but this read like a text book and kept making me fall asleep or at least tune out.
Shanna
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating: between 4.75 and 4.85 stars
Review: This was a really good book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There is a part of me that wishes he included a bit more of one particular topic: the Native Americans. This is only because of how the Northwest Territory was virtually untouched by Europeans until they really began to explore it after the American Revolution. I highly recommend this as a read, but just be warned about McCullough’s writing style: it’s definitely not for everyone (I enjoy
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Mary
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've long been a fan of David McCullough, having read and enjoyed four of his earlier books. This book, however, was a great disappointment. Rather than bringing history to life with the vivid descriptions and crisp writing style for which he's so well respected, McCullough takes the path of least resistance by liberally stringing together quotes drawn from a trove of original sources. As a result the book lacks cohesion and is, quite frankly, dull.
Joseph Sciuto
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
David McCullough's "The Pioneers" is simply wonderful. Mr. McCullough is among a group of historians you have literally changed American history over the last half-century. What I learned in high school and college back in the 70's and 80's, is to a large extent irrelevant, so completely has the revision been, and continues to be.

"The Pioneers"is the story of the settling of the Northwest territory (Ohio) by a group of conscientious, hard working pioneers... Many of who were members of the Revol
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Jack
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lots of new information for me in this book. Before I read it, I never thought of Ohio as the northwest territory. I always believed it was Oregon and Washington . A good surprise though, to learn how a handful of visionaries imported New England to Marietta Ohio (another town I knew nothing about). As usual with Mculloch’s books, he shows how key players and events shaped the drive for education and the fight against slavery. This was a very informative book.
Heather Bennett
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David McCullough is a fabulous historical author who does a lot of research for his books. His books are always rich in historical detail and wonderful characters.
Ashley Jacobson
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-read-history
So good! I love McCullough and I think this was one of his better works. I was so interested in the facts about how life really was in these pioneer years. This was 1700s (at least at the beginning) and I don’t know much about pioneers until later years. It was fascinating to hear real stories about battles with the Indians and to see how bad that really was. It puts other stories into perspective and gives them more context. The characters through which the stories were told were very real and ...more
Elliott Petty
Pardon the double negative, but I didn’t NOT like this book. I just wasn’t gripped with this book like other McCullough biographies and histories.
Cynthia Egbert
Well, this should not have been given such a sweeping title because it is really only the story of the small town of Marietta, Ohio, the first town settled after passage of the Northwest Ordinance. This is extremely detailed about a few families but that is all and so to title it "The Pioneers" is a bit misleading. This one is not one of McCullough's more compelling works but the audio presentation is decent. I did come away with a new understanding of Manasseh Cutler, who has always fascinated ...more
Bobby  Title
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve read and enjoyed a number of David McCullough’s books; my particular favorite has been his "Mornings on Horseback."

What caught my eye about this new book was, frankly, not so much the subject matter but of all things, the very interesting cover picture of a flatboat! I knew from a family story that a long time ago my great-grandma Nancy’s whole family, well over a dozen Virginians, came to Missouri on such a raft, or more probably, rafts.

What drew me to McCullough’s new book was thinking
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Fran Toolan
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was immediately taken by this book. It is historical non-fiction written in a story-telling fashion.

It's primary initial character, Manasseh Cutler, is from a small Massachusetts town not far from me, and is likely an ancestor to a friend of mine, so I was hooked from the beginning.

Regardless of the personal connection, the story of the Northwest Territory from the time of Washington through Jefferson is one that I confess I knew little of. It is an intriguing story of brilliance, determinati
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Todd
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-u-s, history
McCullough is a national treasure. I so much love his story-telling style that I often tell my family that I would read anything he wrote, no matter the subject. This one put me to the test, since I am somewhat sensitive to the history of the systematic removal of Native Americans by force of violence, especially when the story is told from the perspective of the white “settlers.” Nevertheless, Pioneers was a worthy read. The ideals of freedom of religion, free education for all, and unwavering ...more
Casey Wheeler
This book was a disappointment in that it is not up to the standards that I have come to expect from the author. The book focuses on the early settlement of the northwest which in the time period covered (1787-1863) means Ohio. In particular it covers the founding and settlement of Marietta, Ohio. It revolves around four families during the time period - Cutlers, Putnams, Barkers and Hildreths. While the book does an adequate job of describing what took place, I felt that there was much more to ...more
Ash Jogalekar
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With his characteristically warm and light touch, famed historian David McCullough brings us the quintessentially American story of the pioneers who settled the frontier north and west of the Ohio River. As he has done in his other books, he tells the story through a handful of remarkable characters. McCullough’s style is always inspiring and he’s a humane and sensitive storyteller, although readers who want a more complex treatment filled with details would have to supplement the narrative with ...more
Jim
David McCullough is a master storyteller and it shows in The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West. While it may not be as great as John Adams or Truman it is nonetheless a great story that provides insight into a part of American history that I knew little about.

It covers the 1787 - 1863 time period and is the story of the settling of the Northwest Territory. The area containing the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The s
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Maureen Caupp
An interesting read mostly about some of the main players in the early settling of Ohio. Gives information into the lives of some of the men who petitioned congress for money and help settling in the newly acquired Northwest Territory after the revolutionary war. Talks mainly about those that settled in and around Marietta Ohio. Mostly about certain people but McCullough does give a few descriptions of the environment at the time. I find that reading about this time period is inspiring in some w ...more
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Mt. Lebanon Publi...: The Pioneers by David McCullough 1 7 Jun 11, 2019 04:50PM  
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David McCullough is a Yale-educated, two-time recipient of both the Pulitzer Prize (Truman; John Adams) and the National Book Award (The Path Between the Seas; Mornings on Horseback). His many other highly-acclaimed works of historical non-fiction include The Greater Journey, 1776, Brave Companions, The Great Bridge, The Wright Brothers, and The Johnstown Flood. He has been honored with the Nation ...more
“On the matter of advancing age, he liked to say, “My sun is far past its meridian.” 1 likes
“At home, the Barker children were being raised, as one daughter, Catherine, would remember, “to be useful, to be pleasant with our playmates, respectful to superiors, just to all, black or white, good to the poor not showing pride or selfishness but kindness and good will . . . and to see to it that we looked to our own, more than to others’ faults.” 1 likes
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