"Year of Decision 1846" tells many fascinating stories of the U.S. explorers who began the western march from the Mississippi to the Pacific, from ...Show synopsis"Year of Decision 1846" tells many fascinating stories of the U.S. explorers who began the western march from the Mississippi to the Pacific, from Canada to the annexation of Texas, California, and the southwest lands from Mexico. It is the penultimate book of a trilogy which includes "Across the Wide Missouri "(for which DeVoto won both the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes) and "The Course of Empire." DeVoto's narrative covers the expanding Western frontier, the Mormons, the Donner party, Fremont's exploration, the Army of the West, and takes readers into Native American tribal life.Hide synopsis
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Bernard DeVoto is one of the most thoroughly researched historical writers of the antebellum period that I've read. He is especially knowledgable about this period as it pretains to the American west. This book starts out a little slow and a bit odd as he warns you, but it lays a solid foundation for the rest of the book.
DeVoto has pulled together so many accounts from personal diaries that the individual stories he tells within the historical context of events are as close to being there as I can imagine.
Communication in western North America in1846 was painfully slow, with Fremont in California, Taylor in Texas, Karney somewhere in Nebraska and emigrants along the Oregon trail, no one know what the other was doing. So at the closing of many of his chapters DeVoto takes the characters you've been following in totally separate circumstances and events and tells you exactly what each person was doing on a particular day in that year. It really gives you a sense of the continuity of events. How or why some acted the way they did because they lacked the knowledge of events that may be taking place that very day.
His other two books in this trilogy , The Course of Empire and Across the Wide Missouri are just as good.
Book covers the history of the country during the ZacheryTaylor administration. Many things come together: Mexican War; Mormon migration out of Iowa; settling northern border with Britian; Oregon Trail/Donner party; acquisition of Arizona/New Mexico/California from Mexico: Manifest Destiny.
DeVoto sees the big picture. It is an awsome year in the nation's history driven by a president unknown to most of us. DeVoto writes clear, readable and entertaining prose.
A fun, informative and entertaining read. You find yourself going: Wow! How many history books can you say that about?
US History comes alive . . . positive, honest and true!
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