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So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon and California, 1812-1848 (Overland West Series) Hardcover – March 22, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0806141039 ISBN-10: 0806141034 Edition: First Edition

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So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon and California, 1812-1848 (Overland West Series) + With Golden Visions Bright Before Them: Trails to the Mining West, 1849-1852 (Overland West Series)
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Product Details

  • Series: Overland West Series (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; First Edition edition (March 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806141034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806141039
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.1 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #613,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

. . .  beautifully written prose . .  blends the latest scholarly interpretations with an endless array of primary sources . .  . comprehensive, factually reliable, and supremely analytical. --Michael L. Tate, Choice Magazine, December 2010

No one tells the history of the early western trails better than  Will Bagley. . . . an epic story . . . an absorbing narrative. . . "So Rugged and Mountainous" is as good as history gets. --Sandra Dallas, Denver Post, June 5, 2010

A monumental work, vast in scope, precise in detail, generous in vision. Bagley, a historian not connected to any academic institution, has drawn on a vast reservoir of primary sources -- personal letters, journals, newspaper reports, government documents and folk accounts -- to produce a new and lasting contribution. -- Gaylord Dold, Wichita Eagle

The first in what will ultimately be a 4-volume epic reinterpreting the nineteenth-century American West. . . .  Bagley's carefully researched and well-written history is, in a word, magisterial. . . . tells this complex story masterfully. . . some of the finest western geopolitical history ever written. -- Richard Francaviglia, Pacific Hist. Rev.

“Using a wealth of primary sources, Will Bagley's carefully researched and well-written history is, in a word, magisterial. . . . He notes that the year 1846 was a watershed, and his chapter devoted to it represents some of the finest western geopolitical history ever written.”—Richard Francaviglia, Pacific Historical Review


“This large-scale work is a detailed description of the great overland migrations in response to the California gold discoveries. It is a vast canvas, commensurate with the numbers of people and the landscape across which they moved. The panorama of moving stories, superbly told in the words of the participants, develops as a corrective to the history of the overland trails as a heroic epic of progress. Bagley’s account, in contrast, gives full attention to the dark side of these experiences, summed up as “untold suffering, sacrifice, and sorrow.” With Golden Visions Bright Before Them will become the new standard for historians of the great overland trails at mid-century.” —Malcolm Rohrbough, author of Days of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the American Nation

About the Author

Will Bagley is an independent historian who has written about overland emigration, frontier violence, railroads, mining, and the Mormons. Bagley has published extensively over the years and is the author and editor of many books, articles, and reviews in professional journals. Bagley is the series editor of Arthur H. Clark Company's documentary history series, KINGDOM IN THE WEST: The Mormons and the American Frontier. Bagley has been a Wallace Stegner Centennial Fellow at the University of Utah and the Archibald Hannah, Jr. Fellow in American History at Yale University's Beinecke Library. Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows has won numerous awards including a Spur Award from Western Writers of America, the Bancroft History Prize from the Denver Public Library, Westerners International Best Book, and the Western History Association Caughey Book Prize for the most distinguished book on the history of the American West. So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon and California, 1812-1848 is the first of four volumes of Overland West: The Story of the Oregon and California Trails Series.

More About the Author

Will Bagley has written and edited more than twenty books on overland emigration, frontier violence, railroads, mining, the creation of computer search technology, and the Mormons. Some love him, some hate him, but his work has won every major prize in Western History--an Old Joe, the Spur, the Wrangler, the Caroline Bancroft, the John W. Caughey Prize for the year's most distinguished book on the history of the American West, and the Merrill J. Mattes Award for Excellence in Writing. He is not "anti" anything: he simply tries to tell the stories and find the truth of what happened.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Newsraptor on August 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The early pioneers who embarked with well provisioned wagons and stellar hopes for a new home in the Pacific West, usually ended up six months later stumbling into Oregon trading posts nearly naked and starving. Will Bagley does a sensational job telling the stories of these indomitable, and sometimes foolish, folks. This book was given a stellar review recently in The Atlantic. Worth looking it up.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Chris on July 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A compelling and vast history of the Overland emigration west that highlights our western roots and most importantly portrays the individuals that truly began the Western United States, with equal representation for the original inhabitants - the Native Americans - as well as the European and Spanish immigrants that far outnumbered the US settlers.

Of interest is the author's style, which tells a chronological story only in the book as a whole. Each chapter then, is organized by the various aspects of overland emigration life, which leads to a detailed understanding of what day-to-day life most closely resembled. So, if your interested in the western roots of the United States or you grew up playing the computer game The Oregon Trail and imagined what it was really like to attempt this feat, then you should probably read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Hall on February 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book reads like an exciting adventure tale.I loved all the interesting facts it is filled with.It is also very thorough.I especially enjoyed learning about 'why' oxen were the preferred animals to pull the wagons,as opposed to horses and even mules.Makes me wish I had the pleasure of ever knowing a team of oxen or even one ox,but I have never even seen one.

I also appreciated the info about how helpful the Indians often were, instead of the usual B.S.denigrating them.

So much interesting information here,it surprised me how much I enjoyed reading this big book.

Only one complaint,I wish the author had included a chapter on what the emigrants thought of California,and described it as well as he did Oregon.Hopefully the next book will cover that.I always wondered what they thought of such a drastically different landscape,flora and fauna, and the earthquakes!

I read my library's copy of this book~So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon and California, 1812-1848 (Overland West Series).

Highly recommended for anyone interested in the history of this era.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. A. Krisko on October 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This exhaustive but readable coverage of the antebellum period of US western-immigrant history destroys myths and covers oft-ignored events. Touches on all of the major and many of the minor players and supports everything with tables, charts, and evidence. If you're interested in this period in US history, this is the book for you. Had I read history presented like this, I would have been interested a lot earlier in my life.
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