Edwin Bryant What I Saw in California

ISBN 13: 9780803260702

What I Saw in California

4.14 avg rating
( 21 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780803260702: What I Saw in California
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

First published in 1848, What I Saw in California has long been recognized as the foremost trail guide for the Forty-niners. Almost overnight, Edwin Bryant became their authority on how to survive the grueling passage from Independence, Missouri, to San Francisco, and how to prosper in the Promised Land. He also served as a literary model for the diarists among them. His popular book was based on journals describing fully his "tour" west in 1846. For the Kentucky newspaperman, it had been an undertaking with an uncertain outcome, since the overland trail was still faint and the fabled, remote California was then in political turmoil. In fact, Bryant's party had headed straight into the Mexican War. For today's reader, What I Saw in Califorinia is more than a trail guide. It is a valuable primary source of information about the westering experience. In sharp detail, the book portrays births, weddings, and deaths on the trail and the strategies of men and women desperately trying to survive in the adventure of their lives. It introduces such figures as William H. Russell, Joseph Walker, John Charles Frémont, and Stephen Watts Kearny, and includes an early account of the Donner tragedy and of the kaleidoscopic life in California immediately following the American conquest. Its language fixes the restless, feverish wandering that characterized Edwin Bryant and so many of his generation.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Edwin F. Bryant is Associate Professor of Hinduism at Rutgers University. He is the translator of Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God (2004); author of The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate (OUP, 2001); co-editor of: The Hare Krishna Movement: The
Post-Charismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant (2004), and The Aryan Invasion: Evidence, Politics, History (2005), and has just completed a translation of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali with Notes from the Traditional Commentators (2007).

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Edwin Bryant made the journey from Independence, Missouri to California in the years 1846-47, through the southern pass of the Rocky Mountains and across the desert. As a medical student, he became an unofficial doctor along the way, and witnessed some gruesome scenes, like the amputation of a little boy's gangrenous leg, which he describes in painful scientific detail. He is equally explicit when portraying the daily life of the wagon trip, and his prose illuminates the trials of the traveler:

"During the process of cooking supper, it commenced raining and blowing with great violence. Our fire was nearly extinguished by the deluge of water from the clouds, and our dough was almost turned to batter...We ate standing, with the rain falling, and our clothing completely saturated with water. Our oxen become entangled in the ropes by which we had secured them from straying during the night, and it was not without much labor and difficulty that they were released. Jacob and myself made our bed, or rather took shelter from the storm, among the boxes in our wagon; McKinstry and Brownell bivouacked under the wagon, and Curry and Nuttall under a large tree. The suspension of the fury of the storm lasted until about 2 o'clock in the morning, when the rain recommenced falling in torrents, accompanied by peals of crashing thunder and flashes of lightning so brilliant, as to illuminate the whole vault of the heavens. Notwithstanding all these inconveniences, we rested pretty well."

Bryant intended his work to function as both entertainment to the general reader and instruction for those planning to follow his path, and the book is a repository of useful information, like distances, weather, water source locations, and descriptions of plant life. As such, it is invaluable to enthusiasts of Western history. It is also a really good story, with entertaining sketches of camp life, Indians, and animals. Bryant's descriptions of the landscapes are particularly compelling:

"The vast prairie itself soon opened before us in all its grandeur and beauty...The view of the illimitable succession of green undulations and flowery slopes, of every gentle and graceful configuration, stretching away and away, until they fade from the sight in the dim distance, creates a wild and scarcely controllable ecstasy of admiration. I felt, I doubt not, some of the emotions natural to the aboriginal inhabitants of these boundless and picturesque plains, when roving with unrestrained freedom over them; and careless alike of the past and the future, luxuriating in the blooming wilderness of sweets which the Great Spirit had created for their enjoyment, and placed at their disposal."

The variety of Bryant's adventures is striking - in one day he is present at a death, a wedding, a funeral, and a birth. He is often nearly overwhelmed by the functions of nature going on around him, and is particularly moved by the continuous presence of death:

"One of our party who left the train to hunt through the valley, brought into camp this evening a human skull. He stated that the place where he found it was whitened with human bones. Doubtless this spot was the scene of some Indian massacre, or a battle-field where hostile tribes had met and destroyed each other. I could learn no explanatory tradition; but the tragedy, whatever its occasion, occurred many years ago. The bones of buffalo, whitened by the action of the atmosphere, are seen every few yards...but none of the animals have yet been discovered. It is probable that the large number of emigrants who have preceded us, have driven the few buffaloes which descend the Platte so low as this, into the hills. The bleaching skeletons of these animals are strewn over the plain on all sides, ghastly witnesses deposited here, of a retreating and fast perishing race."

What I Saw in California is the classic yet remarkable adventure of a young man heading west, well-written and full of historically useful information.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Buy New View Book
List Price: US$ 30.00
US$ 27.90

Convert currency

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.

Destination, rates & speeds

Add to Basket

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781503246645: What I Saw in California

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  1503246647 ISBN 13:  9781503246645
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishi..., 2014
Softcover

9781589761186: What I Saw in California: By Wagon from Missouri to California in 1847-48

The Na..., 2001
Softcover

9781374946811: What I Saw in California

Pinnac..., 2017
Hardcover

9781438510248: What I Saw In California

Book J..., 2009
Softcover

9781508616795: What I Saw In California: (Edwin Bryant Classics Collection)

Create..., 2015
Softcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Edwin Bryant
Published by University of Nebraska Press, United States (1985)
ISBN 10: 0803260709 ISBN 13: 9780803260702
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Nebraska Press, United States, 1985. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. First published in 1848, What I Saw in California has long been recognized as the foremost trail guide for the Forty-niners. Almost overnight, Edwin Bryant became their authority on how to survive the grueling passage from Independence, Missouri, to San Francisco, and how to prosper in the Promised Land. He also served as a literary model for the diarists among them. His popular book was based on journals describing fully his tour west in 1846. For the Kentucky newspaperman, it had been an undertaking with an uncertain outcome, since the overland trail was still faint and the fabled, remote California was then in political turmoil. In fact, Bryant s party had headed straight into the Mexican War. For today s reader, What I Saw in Califorinia is more than a trail guide. It is a valuable primary source of information about the westering experience. In sharp detail, the book portrays births, weddings, and deaths on the trail and the strategies of men and women desperately trying to survive in the adventure of their lives. It introduces such figures as William H. Russell, Joseph Walker, John Charles Fremont, and Stephen Watts Kearny, and includes an early account of the Donner tragedy and of the kaleidoscopic life in California immediately following the American conquest. Its language fixes the restless, feverish wandering that characterized Edwin Bryant and so many of his generation. Seller Inventory # CBL9780803260702

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 27.90
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

2.

Edwin Bryant
Published by University of Nebraska Press, United States (1985)
ISBN 10: 0803260709 ISBN 13: 9780803260702
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Book Depository International
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Nebraska Press, United States, 1985. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. First published in 1848, What I Saw in California has long been recognized as the foremost trail guide for the Forty-niners. Almost overnight, Edwin Bryant became their authority on how to survive the grueling passage from Independence, Missouri, to San Francisco, and how to prosper in the Promised Land. He also served as a literary model for the diarists among them. His popular book was based on journals describing fully his tour west in 1846. For the Kentucky newspaperman, it had been an undertaking with an uncertain outcome, since the overland trail was still faint and the fabled, remote California was then in political turmoil. In fact, Bryant s party had headed straight into the Mexican War. For today s reader, What I Saw in Califorinia is more than a trail guide. It is a valuable primary source of information about the westering experience. In sharp detail, the book portrays births, weddings, and deaths on the trail and the strategies of men and women desperately trying to survive in the adventure of their lives. It introduces such figures as William H. Russell, Joseph Walker, John Charles Fremont, and Stephen Watts Kearny, and includes an early account of the Donner tragedy and of the kaleidoscopic life in California immediately following the American conquest. Its language fixes the restless, feverish wandering that characterized Edwin Bryant and so many of his generation. Seller Inventory # CBL9780803260702

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 31.87
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

3.

Edwin Bryant
Published by University of Nebraska Press (1985)
ISBN 10: 0803260709 ISBN 13: 9780803260702
New Quantity Available: > 20
Print on Demand
Seller:
Pbshop
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Nebraska Press, 1985. PAP. Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. THIS BOOK IS PRINTED ON DEMAND. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # IQ-9780803260702

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 27.89
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

4.

Edwin Bryant
Published by University of Nebraska Press (1985)
ISBN 10: 0803260709 ISBN 13: 9780803260702
New Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Portland, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Nebraska Press, 1985. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0803260709

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 28.71
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.27
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

5.

Edwin Bryant, Thomas D. Clark (introduction)
Published by UNP - Nebraska 1985-06-01, Lincoln (1985)
ISBN 10: 0803260709 ISBN 13: 9780803260702
New paperback Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Blackwell's
(Oxford, OX, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description UNP - Nebraska 1985-06-01, Lincoln, 1985. paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # 9780803260702

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 26.33
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 9.86
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

6.

Bryant, Edwin
Published by University of Nebraska Press 5/1/1985 (1985)
ISBN 10: 0803260709 ISBN 13: 9780803260702
New Paperback or Softback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
BargainBookStores
(Grand Rapids, MI, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Nebraska Press 5/1/1985, 1985. Paperback or Softback. Condition: New. What I Saw in California. Book. Seller Inventory # BBS-9780803260702

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 37.54
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

7.

Edwin Bryant
Published by University of Nebraska Press
ISBN 10: 0803260709 ISBN 13: 9780803260702
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
THE SAINT BOOKSTORE
(Southport, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Nebraska Press. Paperback. Condition: New. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days. Seller Inventory # B9780803260702

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 29.66
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 9.12
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

8.

Bryant, Edwin
Published by University of Nebraska Press (2016)
ISBN 10: 0803260709 ISBN 13: 9780803260702
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Print on Demand
Seller:
Ria Christie Collections
(Uxbridge, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Nebraska Press, 2016. Paperback. Condition: New. PRINT ON DEMAND Book; New; Publication Year 2016; Not Signed; Fast Shipping from the UK. No. book. Seller Inventory # ria9780803260702_lsuk

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 37.08
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 5.09
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

9.

Bryant, Edwin
Published by UNP - Nebraska (1985)
ISBN 10: 0803260709 ISBN 13: 9780803260702
New Quantity Available: > 20
Print on Demand
Seller:
Books2Anywhere
(Fairford, GLOS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description UNP - Nebraska, 1985. PAP. Condition: New. New Book. Delivered from our UK warehouse in 4 to 14 business days. THIS BOOK IS PRINTED ON DEMAND. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # IQ-9780803260702

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 30.56
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 11.83
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

10.

Bryant, Edwin; Clark, Thomas D. [Introduction]
Published by University of Nebraska Press (1985)
ISBN 10: 0803260709 ISBN 13: 9780803260702
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Nebraska Press, 1985. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # INGM9780803260702

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 38.84
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book