. . . 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 EagleThe 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.