Francis Parkman: The Oregon Trail, The Conspiracy of Pontiac (LOA #53)

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Library of America, May 1, 1991 - History - 951 pages
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“From boyhood,” wrote Francis Parkman, “I had a taste for the woods and the Indians.” This Library of America volume, containing†The Oregon Trail†and†The Conspiracy of Pontiac, brilliantly demonstrates this lifelong fascination.†His first book,†The Oregon Trail, is a vivid account of his frontier adventures and his encounters with Plains Indians in their final era of nomadic life.†The Conspiracy of Pontiac and the Indian War after the Conquest of Canada, Parkman’s first historical work, portrays the fierce conflict that erupted along the Great Lakes in the aftermath of the Seven Years’ War and chronicles the defeats in which the eastern Native American tribes “received their final doom.”

The Oregon Trail†(1849) opens on a Missouri River steamboat crowded with traders, gamblers, speculators, Oregon emigrants, “mountain men,” and Kansas Indians. In his search for Natives untouched by white culture, Parkman meets the Whirlwind, a Sioux chieftain, and follows him through the Black Hills. His descriptions of natives’ buffalo hunts, feasts and games, feuds, and gift-giving derive their intensity from his awareness that he was recording a vanishing way of life. Praised by Herman Melville for its “true wild-game flavor,”†The Oregon Trail†is a classic tale of adventure that celebrates the rich variety of life Parkman found on the frontier and the immensity and grandeur of America’s western landscapes.

In†The Conspiracy of Pontiac†(1851), Parkman chronicles the consequences of the French defeat in Canada for the eastern Native American tribes. At the head of the Native American resistance to the Anglo-American advance in the 1760s was the daring Ottawa leader Pontiac, whose attacks on the frontier forts and settlements put in doubt the continuation of western expansion. A powerful narrative of battles and skirmishes, treaties and betrayals, written with eloquence and fervor and filled with episodes of heroism and endurance,†The Conspiracy of Pontiac†captures the spirit of a tragic and tumultuous age.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA†is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

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User Review  - JVioland - LibraryThing

Great history. Parkman journeys to Oregon...he doesn't even get half-way! A faulty title but incredible scenery and personal accounts like hunting bison only for the tongue! The waste of nature that ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - amerynth - LibraryThing

Of the two books, I liked Parkman's "The Oregon Trail" best His vivid descriptions and great detail are most interesting here, as he describes the people -- from traders to homesteaders to Native ... Read full review

Contents

CHAPTER PAGE I The Frontier
9
Breaking the Ice
16
The Oregon Trail I
20
Fort Leavenworth
26
Jumping Off
29
The Big Blue
39
The Platte and the Desert
55
The Buffalo
67
The Black Hills
224
A Mountain Hunt
228
Passage of the Mountains
239
The Lonely Journey
254
The Pueblo and Bents Fort
272
TÍte Rouge the Volunteer
279
Indian Alarms
284
The Conspiracy of Pontiac
343

Taking French Leave
82
Scenes at Fort Laramie
96
The War Parties
110
Scenes at the Camp
130
Luck
147
Hunting Indians
154
The Ogillallah Village
176
The Hunting Camp
195
The Trappers
215
CHAPTER II
390
CHAPTER III
403
1763
621
CHAPTER XIX
640
CHAPTER XX
659
THE IROQUOIS AMBUSCADE OF THE DEVILs HOLE
671
Chronology
919
Note on the Texts
931
Copyright

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About the author (1991)

Francis Parkman†(1823-1893) was one of America's first and greatest historians, author of such narrative masterpieces as†The Oregon Trail,†France and England in North America†and†The Conspiracy of Pontiac.

William R. Taylor
, volume editor, is professor emeritus at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and former program director of the New York Institute for the Humanities. He is the author of†Cavalier and Yankee†and†In Pursuit of Gotham: Culture and Commerce in New York.

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