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A Walk Toward Oregon: A Memoir

Josephy, Alvin M. Jr.

6 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0375409106 / ISBN 13: 9780375409103
Published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2000
Condition: Very Good + Hardcover
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About this Item

First edition, stated. Inscribed and signed by the author on the title page: "For J-- / For friendship / Alvin M. Josephy Jr." Book is unmarked; spine slant; corners sharp, spine ends bumped. The dust jacket is not price-clipped (original price $27.50); some edgewear. Brodart protected. Bookseller Inventory # 004410

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Walk Toward Oregon: A Memoir

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, New York

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition: Very Good +

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good +

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition

About this title


From the distinguished historian -- celebrated for his writings about the American West and American Indians -- an account of his journey across the twentieth century.

Impassioned participant in and acute observer of the life of his times, Alvin Josephy takes us from the New York of the teens and twenties to the 1990s on the Oregon ranch where he has found his heart's home. His "walk" leads him to Harvard during the hopeful days of the New Deal; to scriptwriting for MGM in Hollywood and menial work on Wall Street in the Depression; through a job with the Herald Tribune (for which he interviewed Leon Trotsky); to the wartime landings on Iwo Jima and Guam, which he covered as a Marine Corps combat correspondent; to an antiwar march with Martin Luther King, Jr.; to his profound involvement in Native American and environmental causes.

Josephy tells how it was that he found his true calling -- becoming an advocate for American Indians and the land they once called their own. In a wonderful way, he gives witness to two Americas: He renders the excitement of the go-go industrial expansionist nation that came into being in the first half of the century and burst onto the world after the war. At the same time he chronicles our growing awareness of another America -- the land and people who had no voice as the country around them grew.

His astute understanding of the events he witnessed and became part of, and the spirited, evocative quality of his narrative, combine to capture the life, the turmoil, the problems, progress, setbacks, and satisfactions, of this American Century.

A Walk Toward Oregon will move and delight readers who have lived these years themselves, as well as the young who want to know firsthand what came before them. It will stand as an indispensable document of our time.


An outstanding memoir provides insights into two worlds--the personal world of the author, with all the events, passions, and experiences that are unique to that individual, and the social, political world in which he or she lived. Generally speaking, the more remarkable the life of the author and the greater the historical awareness, the better the memoir. Add to these the fact that Alvin Josephy is a practiced and sophisticated writer, and it's no surprise that A Walk Toward Oregon is all that a memoir should be.

Alvin Josephy Jr. was born in 1915, and in his 85 years he's lived a noteworthy life and accomplished an inordinate amount. The author of many award-winning books (including The Patriot Chiefs, Now That the Buffalo's Gone, and The Civil War in the American West), Josephy has also been a vice president and editor of American Heritage magazine, the president of the Western History Association, and the founding chairman of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian board of trustees. He found his calling working with American Indians to regain the land they once owned, found peace of mind with a ranch in Oregon--making his childhood dreams of the great West an adult reality--and then tied it all together in a cohesive and thoughtful memoir.

An eminent historian, Josephy is acutely aware of the passage of time and the social impact of landmark events. His young life was peopled by luminaries such as H.L. Mencken, Willa Cather, and Alfred Knopf (his uncle, and founder of the publishing house that so happened to print this book). He interviewed Leon Trotsky for the Herald Tribune, had a stint as a Marine Corps combat correspondent at Iwo Jima, and participated in an antiwar march with Martin Luther King Jr., not to mention all the advocating he's done on behalf of the Native Americans. His personal interaction with history brings the 20th century alive, both for those of us who experienced it alongside him and for younger readers who may view the goings-on of the Great Depression and WWII as ancient history. His portrayal of his life and times is intimate, insightful, and a pleasure to read. --Stephanie Gold

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