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So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon and California, 1812–1848 (Overland West Series) First Edition Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0806141039
ISBN-10: 0806141034
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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.
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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: 7 x 1.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,098,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A fascinating, detailed description of the westward movement of Americans to Oregon and California in the mid 1800s -- wagon trains, finding the best routes through the mountains, challenges all the way in the journeys that sometimes took six months or more. This is an important chapter in American history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Another sterling work from one of the Rocky Mountain West's best historians. Will Bagley's historical research is impeccable and his writing brings forth a clear narrative of the life and times of the individuals who pioneered the overland trail systems linking the east and west coasts together. This is a must for any library on the overland trails.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had this on my wish list for two years. Originally it was only available in hardback for nearly $50. When it came out in a Kindle version I snapped it up. What a treasure trove. Of course you have to like history but this is well written, researched, and a pleasure to read.
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