68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2001
Irving Stone is known more as a novelist than a historian. Consequently some serious historians have relegated this book to the realm of popular blather. But in spite of the fact that the book is entertaining and readable it is also serious history. Stone conducted extensive research and produced a masterpiece. It has been continuously in print for over 40 years. Its pages encompass the mountain west from Colorado to California and it is populated with heroes, visionaries, eccentrics and rogues. A must have book to be enjoyed again and again.
56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2000
I agree with the previous reviews so I will not duplicate their effort. I too want to emphasize that this book's strength is in its wonderful telling of the stories of western expansion that many Americans know only a piece of. It is an excellent survey with enough detail to do justice to the individual episodes without getting bogged down. Each subject in the book has been treated in more detail elsewhere; where this book shines is in covering them all and deftly weaving them together to give a portrait of 19th-century western America. I think those of us who live in California especially appreciate learning about the people for whom much of our landscape is named. Read it and tell your friends about it.
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 1999
A great deal of primary and secondary research shows in Men to Match My Mountains. The hard work and attention to detail which Irving Stone put into this work is evident. Far from being the typical boring history text, Men to Match My Mountains is liberally salted with amusing anecdotes and captivating details of the lives of those who first settled California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. Most of what we know about the West comes from the "cowboy" legends and myths, but Stone focuses on the gold and silver rushes and the Mormon settlement of Utah as the main reasons people went West.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 1998
Irving Stone has an incredible ability to relate factual information in a highly entertaining fashion. This book is a must read for anyone who appreciates the "Old West". It will amaze and delight you with tidbits of information about what really happened with the railroads, the immigrants, gold, water, and the people who were in the thick of it all! Stone's descriptions give the story a very personal feel. From Mexico to the Canadian border, you'll be treated to fascinating description of places, people and events.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 1998
Readers familiar with DeVoto may feel this is close to his subject matter, and indeed, in part it is. Both DeVoto and Irving Stone research well the material presented in their books. But, every author is an individual and his perspective will necessarily differ from others. This book, as do other overviews, does a wonderful job of exposing the reader to causes he may never have considered in the pursuit of Manifest Destiny. Men to Match my Mountains is the perfect sequel to DeVoto's two books, 'Across the Wide Missouri,' and 'The year of Decision, 1846.' More than simply a history book, it is a kaleidoscope of detail, bits of which will interest everyone.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 1998
I loved this book. Having lived in California since 1948, I thought I knew a lot about our history. How wrong I was. This was an extremely difficult book to put down. I learned more about how the West was settled than I learned in all my history classes in High School and College put together. Besides being very factual, this book is extremely easy reading. I've passed this book on the many friends (all native Californians) and they all loved it. Extremely informative on the settlement of Utah (and other parts of the West) by the Mormons. It was also very interesting to learn about the mining in Colorado after California's Gold Rush. If you live and love the West Coast, you must read this book.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 1997
Yes! Men to Match My Mountains is a captivating history of the opening of the American West that illuminates the "pioneer spirit" while avoiding its cliches. From the Donner Party to the transcontinental railroad to the Mormons' fight for statehood, this work uncovers the facinating stories of the individuals that created a raccous civilization from a reluctant wilderness. Read this book first to learn, then read it again purely for entertainment
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
First, this is not my normal genre, but came as a highly recommended book. If one wants to learn about the immigration and exploration of the west, then one can not go wrong by reading and enjoying this wonderful history lesson in story form. As the title of the book indicates, it took a special stock of men (and women) to overcome the many obstacles that the mountains (and desert) requires of one. The book takes you on this journey from the viewpoint of the true early explorers, and adventures, to just people trying to make a better life, or escaping religious persecution. Either group provides the struggles required of all and the high adventures to get where they eventually landed.
It is hard to imagine that prior to year of 1830, that there were probably less than 5,000 non-Native Indians living in the far west. Even more so that most Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, Russians, (and others) that thought the far west presented far too much danger to even attempt the crossing, and once there, not much to reward your effort. This was based on some facts as the story unfolds from the Donner Party tragedy, and Indian attacks, to continued religious persecution, and vigilante groups of early settlements. All told though, there is only greed or great opportunity that can overcome a rational repugnance of such hardships to justify the costs which to overcome man's avoidance of living in such extremes. That greed comes in the form of gold and silver for many that ultimately made the effort to expand the far west.
All in, this is a page turner with both drama, color, and interwoven events to keep the story (i.e. immigration) moving along to the far west that we know today. A wonderful and educational story indeed.
40 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2002
I agree that Irving Stone's Men to Match My Mountains is an entertaining series of intertwined stories about the settling of the west, but it is tainted by a couple of obvious and major factual errors in the early going. Before page 60, he's got 1840s explorers walking the banks of Shasta Lake, which didn't exist until Shasta Dam was completed in 1944. He's also got guys climbing UP the Eastern Sierra to Owens Lake, which is impossible since Owens Lake is at the base of the Eastern Sierra (or was, until the City of L.A. diverted its water). It makes me wonder what else he got wrong. An entertaining book about history loses a lot of its appeal if it's inaccurate.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2004
Man versus nature. That is how I would summarize this book. The epic struggle between the basic human desire to better himself and the seemingly formidable force of nature standing in its path is brilliantly written in such a personal way only Irving Stone can depict. I would recommend this book to those who are not only a student of American history but to all who are wondering what exactly we, as human beings, are truly capable of once we have a dream, a destination and that little thing we call hope. This book truly inspires.