Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck

Oregon Trail

The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck is an epic account of traveling the length of the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon with a team of mules, an audacious journey that hasn’t been attempted in a century.

Buck chronicles his summerlong journey across the “Great American Desert” in a covered wagon, tracing the same exodus of more than 400,000 pioneers across the Oregon Trail in the 15 years before the Civil War.

The book is not just an epic adventure but also a lively and essential work of history that shatters the comforting myths about the trail years passed down by generations of Americans. Buck introduces readers to the largely forgotten roles played by trailblazing evangelists, friendly Indian tribes, female pioneers, bumbling US Army cavalrymen, and the scam artists who flocked to the frontier to fleece the overland emigrants.

Generous portions of the book are devoted to the history of old and appealing things like the mule and the wagon. We also learn how the trail accelerated American economic development. Most arresting, perhaps, are the stories of the pioneers themselves—ordinary families whose extraordinary courage and sacrifice made this country what it became.

The main themes of the book are adventure, history, and personal saga. The book takes readers on a majestic journey across the West, while also providing a significant work of history and a moving personal saga. It is a wildly ambitious work of nonfiction from a true American original.

What I Liked

ALL THE THINGS! This is one of the best history travel nonfiction books that I’ve ever read.

What I Did Not Like

Nothing – it’s incredible.

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