In the bestselling tradition of Bill Bryson and Tony Horwitz, Rinker Buck's "The Oregon Trail" is a major work of participatory history: an epic account of traveling the 2,000-mile length of the Oregon Trail the old-fashioned way, in a covered wagon with a team of mules--which hasn't been done in a century--that also tells the rich history of the trail, the people who made the migration, and its significance to the country. Spanning 2,000 miles and traversing six states from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean, the Oregon Trail is the route that made America. In the fifteen years before the Civil War, when 400,000 pioneers used it to emigrate West--historians still regard this as the largest land migration of all time--the trail united the coasts, doubled the size of the country, and laid the groundwork for the railroads. The trail years also solidified the American character: our plucky determination in the face of adversity, our impetuous cycle of financial bubbles and busts, the fractious clash of ethnic populations competing for the same jobs and space. Today, amazingly, the trail is all but forgotten. Rinker Buck is no stranger to grand adventures. "The New Yorker "described his first travel narrative, "Flight of Passage," as "a funny, cocky gem of a book," and with "The Oregon Trail "he seeks to bring the most important road in American history back to life. At once a majestic American journey, a significant work of history, and a personal saga reminiscent of bestsellers by Bill Bryson and Cheryl Strayed, the book tells the story of Buck's 2,000-mile expedition across the plains with tremendous humor and heart. He was accompanied by three cantankerous mules, his boisterous brother, Nick, and an "incurably filthy" Jack Russell terrier named Olive Oyl. Along the way, Buck dodges thunderstorms in Nebraska, chases his runaway mules across miles of Wyoming plains, scouts more than five hundred miles of nearly vanished trail on foot, crosses the Rockies, makes desperate fifty-mile forced marches for water, and repairs so many broken wheels and axels that he nearly reinvents the art of wagon travel itself. Apart from charting his own geographical and emotional adventure, Buck introduces readers to the evangelists, shysters, natives, trailblazers, and everyday dreamers who were among the first of the pioneers to make the journey west. With a rare narrative power, a refreshing candor about his own weakness and mistakes, and an extremely attractive obsession for history and travel, "The Oregon Trail" draws readers into the journey of a lifetime.
Format: Paperback, 464 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, June 2016
Product Dimensions: 8.3 L × 5.5 W × 1.2 H
Publisher Marketing: Publisher Marketing: #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER #1 Indie Next Pick Winner of the PEN New England Award
Enchanting A book filled with so much love Long before Oregon, Rinker Buck has convinced us that the best way to see America is from the seat of a covered wagon. The Wall Street Journal
Amazing A real nonfiction thriller. Ian Frazier, The New York Review of Books
Absorbing Winning The many layers in The Oregon Trail are linked by Mr. Buck s voice, which is alert and unpretentious in a manner that put me in mind of Bill Bryson s comic tone in A Walk in the Woods. Dwight Garner, The New York Times
A major bestseller that has been hailed as a quintessential American story (Christian Science Monitor), Rinker Buck s The Oregon Trail is an epic account of traveling the 2,000-mile length of the Oregon Trail the old-fashioned way in a covered wagon with a team of mules that has captivated readers, critics, and booksellers from coast to coast. Simultaneously a majestic journey across the West, a significant work of history, and a moving personal saga, Buck s chronicle is a laugh-out-loud masterpiece (Willamette Week) that so ensnares the emotions it becomes a tear-jerker at its close (Star Tribune, Minneapolis) and will leave you daydreaming and hungry to see this land (The Boston Globe).
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