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Heart of the Trail: The Stories of Eight Wagon Train Women Paperback – Bargain Price, September 1, 1997

4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Paperback, Bargain Price, September 1, 1997
$6.84 $4.73

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

In 'Heart of the Trail' Mary Barmeyer O'Brien beautifully captures the triumphs and tribulations of eight women who crossed the American frontier by wagon. While their stories are widely different, each of these remarkable women was inspiring, courageous, and resourceful. The legacy of their letters and diaries, most written on the trail, is a fascinating addition to understanding the history of the West.

About the Author

Sarah Raymond Herndon left her home in Missouri in May 1865 and traveled west in the company of her mother, younger brothers, and fellow emigrants, finally arriving in Virginia City, Montana Territory, at the height of the Gold Rush boom in that rough frontier town. She spent the rest of her life in Montana, and published the story of her western journey in 1900.
Mary Barmeyer O'Brien is the author of "Heart of the Trail, Into the Western Winds, Toward the Setting Sun," and "Bright Star in the Big Sky," a biography of Montana's Jeannette Rankin. She lives in Polson, Montana.
--This text refers to the Unbound edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 81 pages
  • Publisher: TwoDot; First edition (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560445629
  • ASIN: B008SLHASI
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,278,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nothing is more interesting to me than first hand historical accounts. The book description certainly leads one to believe that this is what this book has to offer. It is, however, 82 pages of grandiose fluff with only occassional quotes from actual diaries. The book is classified as "Women's Studies"; it is, at best, only for children young enough to know nothing of American History.
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By A Customer on July 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Good book for an over view of women's lives on the journey West. I would have liked more details.
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By Ger-Ber on September 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is small, the stories short, and very little of the original documents are included. I'm not sure why the author bothered.
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Format: Paperback
Being a short book, I knew none of the stories would be in depth; however, because they were about women I knew nothing about, they were mildly interesting. The writing is good, the subject matter terrific, but due to the shortness of the stories, not overly informative; more gravy, less meat.

I think this would be a good introduction to anyone not at all familiar with this part of our history, and would hopefully pique their interest to go on and read more in depth accounts, including the actual diaries of the women.

There was nothing here about how they coped with emergencies, or daily lives on a personal level, except as a high level gloss. Personal things, such as how they dealt with babies and diapers would probably not have been mentioned in their actual diaries and or letters home. That would have been considered women's work, and of no importance to record, as all the women would have known. And the men wouldn't have cared what they thought, let alone read the diaries.

I really wish the author had written longer stories with more usable information, given the women 50-60 pages each, and used more quotes from their diaries and letters. Unfortunately, the lack of information in this book make me hesitate to buy any of her other books, though I see she has several out about the same era and subject.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading this book makes me know I was not meant to be a prairie woman! I cannot even fathom the hardships endured by these hardy women in life-changing circumstances. Coming from Council Bluffs, Iowa, I could see from the book's map that my own home town played an enormous part in the westward movement of our country's population, via the Council Bluffs Road. Since much of my family still live there, I purchased this book for my elderly Aunties for Christmas.

Whether you feel a territorial kinship with this book or just want to read thru the touching journals of 8 wagon train women, you will not be disappointed and you can't walk away with your heart untouched by the bravery & fortitude of the individual authors. It's a short book .. a quick read .. buy this book and you won't be sorry.
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Format: Paperback
This enjoyable book contains the compelling stories of eight pioneer women who travelled the overland trails. It brings to light not only their day-to-day struggles, but the joys, sorrows, and hardships they encountered as they travelled west. The author outlines their remarkable stories in a clear, descriptive style and includes excerpts from their own writings. An enlightening book!
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Format: Paperback
This well-written, thoroughly researched book follows eight pioneer women as they cross the continent on various overland trails. The author manages to put the reader right there in the dusty wagon ruts, where the women face everything from life-threatening scrapes to tender family moments. Each woman's tale is relayed in narrative form, but also has a few excerpts from their own journals. As you read "Heart of the Trail," you find yourself relating to each woman in a uniquely compassionate way. The book is not too long, and is an effortless read. The author provides just enough information about pioneer trail living - not so much as to be overwhelming for the general reader. I commend the author on her inclusion of good maps of the trails as well as photos of most of the pioneer women. I recommend this book for those wanting an accurate glimpse into our pioneer past.
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Format: Paperback
The subtitle is "The Stories of Eight Wagon Train Women." It is a small book and the stories are brief. Reading the other reviews on Amazon makes it obvious this is not the book for someone looking for a lot of detail. However, I found it well-written and enjoyable. It is drawn from first-person accounts, but is narrative style with just a few quotes. In all but one of the stories the author has included a portrait or photograph of the subject. A reader should have no trouble identifying with each of these eight women.

This is a diverse set of women and an equally diverse set of situations. Two women are essentially enjoying a honeymoon as they journey to a new home and a new life. Some of the women faced a great deal of hardship, in fact one so damaged her health that she died only a year and a half after reaching California. One of the most heartwarming stories is of a black woman. Most were young, although Tabitha Moffatt Brown was sixty-six when she made the journey over the Oregon Trail in 1846.

Each woman traveled a different trail and between them they covered nearly all of the trails west. The author has included a wonderful map showing the route of each. Some traveled as part of large wagon trains and others traveled alone or in small groups. The destinations were also diverse: Oregon, California, Montana, Colorado, and New Mexico.

These women represent the early settlers of the west. Although a few were seeking gold, most came with a goal of establishing themselves. In many cases, they were among the first settlers in their communities. They set up schools; Tabitha Brown's school grew to be Oregon's Pacific University. They helped start churches and launched charities.
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