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A Tour on the Prairies (The Western Frontier Library Series) Paperback – October 15, 1985
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A Dano-Norwegian writer and playwright, Holberg is considered the founder of Norwegian literature. He contributed to the development of science in the early days of the Age of Enlightenment. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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We see Irving and a group on a 10 week excursion into the far mid west then ( Oklahoma). We see the vivid description of rivers, plains and forests. Also great descriptions of life of US Army rangers who traveled with the group. We see an inexperienced young count who gets temporarily lost, a half breed, and a boastful little Frenchman. The reader learns about the Indians, hunting especially Buffalo hunting in the region.
This book became an ultimate classic of the Old West and further propelled Irving as one of America's great writers. Anyone interest in life on the prairie in the Old West, Indians, wildlife and great scenery description will like this book. 5 stars
But because I was so interested in the topic and was about to attend the "A Day with Washington Irving" re-enactment at the Keystone Ancient Forest near Sand Springs, Okla. -- an area through which the group documented in this book traveled -- I plowed through the text anyway. Having the background was a great help to me as I walked through the Cross Timbers forest and witnessed re-enactors discussing the events and personalities of the trip.
I found it especially enlightening to read how Irving described and referred to Indians -- those traveling with his group and those who lived in the territory his group was crossing. He routinely talked about them as "savages" and "half-breeds," even as he talked admiringly of their skills and knowledge. I imagine that the widespread reading of his book by Americans of his day contributed greatly to the stereotypes of and prejudices against American Indians that were perpetuated in this country.
Irving spends a great deal of time in the book relating the hunts -- of deer, buffalo, turkeys and even wild horses -- that his group pursued. I'm a wildlife rehabber and a soft-hearted vegetarian, so these depictions were not easy to read. At one point Irving even expressed remorse himself at having shot a buffalo. It was severely wounded but not dead, and before he put it out of its misery, he felt guilty for having harmed the animal, which he considered magnificent in its size, strength and majesty.
If you're going to read the book, go ahead and get the print version -- not this e-edition. The mangled text makes it too hard to read.
judging from the rivers mentioned and the location of his starting point at Fort Gibson which is northeast of Muskogee, Oklahoma, he only traveled in
eastern Oklahoma. This area is part of the Ozarks which explains the brush and trees he describes. The open prairie where the buffalo roamed is farther north in Kansas. The Red River forms the current border between Oklahoma and Texas, so I'm not sure whether he really reached that point either. Nevertheless, he provides an interesting description of early exploration west of the Mississippi, most appealing to hunters and naturalists. The text is a worthy contribution to understanding early American history. Too bad that the publishers didn't choose a more appropriate cover design.