Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Great news, trail fans!

In a previous post I mentioned Will Bagley, whom I've been pestering for years with questions about the trails, Lansford W. Hastings, and western history in general. Will is known in Utah for his incisive writings on Mormon history, but more importantly (to me, anyway) he's also an authority on the overland trails. For years now he's been working on a mammoth 4-volume history of the western migration called Overland West: The Story of the Oregon and California Trails, published by the University of Oklahoma Press, and the first volume is coming out now. It covers the Donner Party era and should be of great interest to Donner aficionados, buffs, and diehard fanatics alike. While other historians have told parts of the tale, this is the first to tackle "the complete story of three decades of overland emigration or [present] such a compelling analysis of how “the Road across the Plains” became the engine that transformed the American West between 1840 and 1870."

The volumes in the series are:

1. So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon-California, 1812–1848.
2. With Golden Visions Bright Before Them: Trails and the Creation of the Mining West, 1849–1852. Coming in 2011.

3. To Begin the World Anew: Trails and the Transformation of the American West, 1853–1860.

4. The War for the Medicine Road: Trails and the Conquest of the American West, 1861–1912.

(Standard disclaimer: I have no financial interest in plugging these books.)

If you're in Utah, Will is having a reading and signing tonight at Ken Sanders Rare Books, 268 South 200 East, Salt Lake City, at 7:00.


Bob Clark said...


Thanks very much for helping to spread the word on this new and very illuminating book. (Disclaimer: I'm the acquisitions editor.) Bob Clark

Kristin Johnson said...

Hey, happy to help! I've been hearing about this book for ages, so am delighted that it's finally coming out. Thanks for all your good work, Bob.