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The Discovery of the Great West (Notable American Authors)

4.4 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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About the Author

Boston-born Francis Parkman (1823-1893), whose most famous books are "The Oregon Trail" and "France and England in North America," was a renowned American historian and leading horticulturalist. He was briefly a Professor of Horticulture at Harvard University's Bussey Institution (his successor at Harvard was Charles Sprague Sargent, creator and head of the Arnold Arboretum for more than 50 years) and the President of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. In the 1850s, he purchased land bordering Jamaica Pond for his summer home. Today, the Francis Parkman Memorial sits near the former site of the house, while Francis Parkman Drive runs through the former location of his rose garden. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Library Binding
  • Publisher: Reprint Services Corp (1869)
  • ISBN-10: 0781247330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0781247337
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,325,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I read this story aloud to my 10 year old daughter and 11 year old son. We laughed, we cried, we wondered what would happen next, we were oh so sorry when the book was done. My kids said it was their all time favorite of the many many books we have read aloud together. This is the kind of story that inspires great character and kindly behavior....something that is sadly lacking in most modern liturature for the young. Well worth reading, alone or aloud.
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Format: Paperback
Laddie was my most beloved book as a pre-teenager. I absolultely loved the world portrayed, and with each rereading (17 readings in all) I was more caught up in the world of Little Sister (what was her name? We never do find out, do we?) I'm thrilled to see that it's available, as my old copy is in tatters, with pages missing and held together with a rubber band.
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Format: Paperback
I chose this classic to read because it was listed as a "must-read" in the book A Thomas Jefferson Education to help parents and teachers learn how to mentor their children through reading of the Classics. I haven't yet finished it, but every spare minute I have (which is hard with three toddlers in the house!), I'm devoting to find out Little Sister's next adventure. I can't wait to see what happens with the Princess and Laddie, and am so glad when things go well for the family.

So vivid a story, I am pleased to be reading this as an adult. Somehow I wasn't required to read it in public school growing up, and therefore just didn't.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For those who liked Ambrose's "Undaunted Courage" or Lansing's "Endurance", make room on your bookshelf for another favorite. Parkman tells the story of LaSalle's journeys in North America with a novelist's style and a historian's attention to detail.
Of particular interest were Parkman's references to things which exist "today" referring to his time, the mid to late 1800's. As such, the reader is treated to a double dose of history by viewing past events through the eyes of someone who wrote over 100 years ago. The book was an exciting and enjoyable read.
My only criticisms of the book were that the volume of the footnotes was somewhat distracting, and that a few key phrases were not translated from French. Otherwise, excellent.
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Format: Paperback
While there is a new Introduction, this is the historic account of Robert LaSalle's exploration of the Louisiana territory in the 1680s. Parkman first published this treatise in 1869; it has since been reprinted numerous times. An excellent, thoroughly engrossing recounting of the exploration of the territory which LaSalle claimed for France in 1682, through which the reader not only learns of the daily travails of the little band of explorers, but also, the human frailties of the man, Robert Cavelier, known as LaSalle. This book gives life to a name from history, and exemplifies the methodical research done by Parkman in the days before telephones, faxes, and copiers. I was thoroughly impressed by the subject and the writer. Excellent; informative, totally enthralling reading-writers of today should take note! Kudos to the publishers (and Krakauer) for bringing this series (back) to life!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'd never heard of or read Laddie until I reached 39 yrs of age, and though it seems it was written for youth I can think of many adults that would benefit from taking in such earnest literature. The cynical part of me wants to call this book dated, but in truth I find the story's lack of modern day cynicism refreshing. Enjoy this hidden jewel.
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Format: Paperback
This is the third book of Parkman's that I've read. Previously, I read Pioneers of France in the New World and The Jesuits in North America. About all three I would say a) they are absolutely amazing works of brilliant, inspired scholarship, b) Parkman's measured, objective, caring approach to the topics -- and the beauty and tone of his writing -- is extremely compelling, and c) my grade school, high school, and college education did not provide me with the gritty, fascinating facts about what REALLY happened back in the 17th Century in North America.

This is not James Michener (as much as I have enjoyed his works) packaging and making sense of history -- or the dry, intellectualized expert texts I had to read in school -- or the politically correct wholesome simplified upbeat teachings of my youth, with for example the perfect Puritans and the friendly Indians sharing Thanksgiving.

This is what really happened, detail by detail, based on exhaustive research of original texts -- letters, reports, maps, government documents, earlier histories, etc. Fortunately for Parkman, the early adventurers did a lot of writing, including many of the members of religious orders who accompanied or in some cases led the explorations.

My main takeaway from these true histories is how incredibly dangerous, unsuccessful, and unpredictable the courses of events were in these times (and probably in our time as well). In a way they are like anti-stories, or anti-history.
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