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Powerful Rockey: The Blue Mountains and the Oregon Trail Hardcover – February, 1991

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Pika Pr; 1st edition (February 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0962677205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962677205
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,852,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John W. Evans on September 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
I'm not just giving this book a high rating because it was written by my late father, Jack Evans, but also because it is a fascinating eyewitness account of Oregon Trail history in northeastern Oregon, as related through actual pioneer diaries.

We take a lot of things for granted in present-day America, but after reading this book I learned to have a greater appreciation for the way things were during pioneer days. Those who emigrated to the Pacific Northwest via the Oregon Trail faced unimaginable hardships that included dysentery, attacks by Native Americans, animal attacks and horrible weather. The pioneers' descriptions of the countless grave markers along the route are a reminder of the courage and toughness of those who survived the trip, and the tragedies that befell those who didn't live to see Oregon's Willamette Valley.

Having lived in northeast Oregon most of my life, Dad's book added new levels of understanding to my view of this region. When I look at the steep hill above Ladd Canyon at the south edge of our valley, it is hard not to imagine covered wagons making their perilous descent. When I look above town and above Table Mountain, I can see the route the wagons had to travel to get to the top of the ridge, and I wonder how they possibly could have made it, given the roughness of the terrain.

The book also features maps on which Dad outlined the route of the Oregon Trail. If you like to get out and walk and if you are good with USGS maps, you might be able to follow the Oregon Trail yourself, through Oregon's Malheur, Baker, Union and Umatilla Counties.

My father's writings help connect the pioneer diary excerpts in a near-seamless manner, creating an amazing story or courage. Please take time to read this book. Whether or not you are familiar with Oregon Trail history, "Powerful Rockey" will provide you with a sense of wonder and a greater understanding of the American pioneer spirit!
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By arabella on August 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a lovely and unusual book. I loved it so much that I hated to finish it. It describes the route of the Oregon Trail through the Blue Mountains area of northeastern Oregon, from Farewell Bend to the Umatilla River.

Evans has found, apparently, every diary kept by explorers and emigrants on this stretch of the route, and reprints what each of them said, day by day, about the journey. So the same stretch of road is described over and over by different people. One might think that this would get repetitive or dull, but it is instead enthralling, and gets a grip on the imagination that doesn't let go. This is about as close as one can get to actually knowing these emigrants at this time in their lives. In spite of all their suffering, the horrendous difficulty of getting wagons through the mountains, and the fact that many people were running out of food, most of them were entranced by the beauty of the forests, which were the first trees they'd seen in months, and by the green, fertile Grande Ronde valley.

The book includes more than forty pages of maps, most of them USGS topo maps with the Oregon Trail route superimposed in red, showing where ruts are and are not visible today. This gives the reader even more of a feel for what the emigrants experienced, and more appreciation for the fascination of the area. Also, it is printed on a lovely, heavyish paper that makes the book even more of a pleasure to read.
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