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A Life Wild and Perilous: Mountain Men and the Paths to the Pacific

Utley, Robert M. Author

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The author of The Lance and the Shield describes how the trails of the West were carved out by a group of hunters and traders, known as mountain men, who came to know the land and, in turn, became valuable guides for the missionaries and the settlers who followed them. 20,000 first printing."

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Review:

It's true, Robert Utley writes, that mountain men such as "Crazy Bill" Williams and Jeremiah "Liver-Eating" Johnson were an unlearned, unwashed, drunk, and violent bunch who tore a bloody swath across the then-unconquered American West from the 1810s to the 1840s. Yet their travels across deserts and plains and over high mountains yielded a huge body of geographical knowledge that would enable American pioneers to cross the Mississippi and traverse the continent in relative security. Utley, a historian with a fluent narrative style, tells the stories of hard-fighting men like Jim Bridger, Benjamin Bonneville, Kit Carson, and Joseph Walker, whose names now figure prominently on maps of the region but are otherwise little remembered.

About the Author:

Former historian to the National Park Service, Robert M. Utley is the author of many distinguished works of history, including The Last Days of the Sioux Nation and the award-winning The Lance and the Shield. He lives in Georgetown, Texas.

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Utley, Robert M. Author
Published by Henry Holt & Co (1997)
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