This engaging popular history details the settlement of the Oregon Territory, from the 1792 Columbia fur-trading expedition that discovered the great river of that name, to the great migrations of the mid-19th century. Golay, the author of five previous books on 19th-century America, introduces pivotal figures in the quest for a Pacific Empire, such as John McLoughlin, of the Hudson Bay Company, who ruled the Oregon Territory during the 1820s and 1830s. During much of that period, neither the British nor the Americans had full control of the area, but soon thereafter Americans pushed up the Columbia and across the Plains. Finding passes through the mountains, many of these settlers and explorers earned the title of""pathfinder."" Golay limns balanced portraits of many explorers, including one of John Charles Fremont (the celebrated""pathfinder of empire"") that does justice to him and his intrepid wife Jessie. He also profiles Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, the best-known martyrs among the new territory's missionaries. Golay ably chronicles the expansion that established the American claim to the Pacific Northwest, as well as the devastating consequences for the Native Americans who preceded the European settlers. The quality of the writing and the depth of the research make this book a valuable read for anyone interested in 19th-century American history. B&w illustrations and maps.
Reviewed on: 08/01/2003 Release date: 09/01/2003 Genre: Nonfiction
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 400 pages - 978-0-471-69039-9