The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey review ï 0

review The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey

The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey review ï 0 À Traveling from St Joseph Missouri to Baker City Oregon over the course of four months Buck is accompanied by three cantankerous mules his boisterous brother Nick and a Jack Russell terrier named Olive Oyl Along the way they dodge thunderstorms in Nebraska chase runaway mules aSe runaway mules across the Wyoming plains cross the Rockies and make desperate fifty mile forced marches for water The Buck brothers repair so many broken wheels and axels that they nearly reinvent the art of wagon travel itself They also must reckon with th. This entertaining often enthralling mix of history humor travelogue family memoir and no holds barred social commentary reminds me of my favorite Bill Bryson books especially A Walk in the Woods about Bryson’s misadventures hiking the Appalachian Trail When Rinker Buck discovered that large stretches of the Oregon Trail still exist he had romantic visions of a back to basics journey across the western half of the continent and began obsessively and meticulously preparing for a mule drawn covered wagon trip along the old pioneer route Since he was divorced and his daughters were grown why not Rinker planned to go solo but even replica wagons have breakdowns so fortunately for both him and his readers Rinker’s handy force of nature brother insisted on coming along too a brusue big hearted syntax challenged mechanically gifted giant of a man who has some resemblance to Harry Potter’s HagridRinker blends the fascinating if fraught history of the mass migration westward into the story of his own journey Pioneer journals were his guides and the sections devoted to their lively accounts of trail travel were some of my favorite parts of the book Rinker also writes movingly about his father an adventurous family centered man who inspired his trip I found the chapter about the surprising to me importance role of mules in 18th and 19th century America starting with George Washington as a savvy land speculating donkey importer and mule broker utterly captivating and it’s a good example of the atypical historical perspectives and insights that make this book so riveting But The Oregon Trail A New American Journey is as much about the modern day West and its people as it is about the past and as an Easterner I learned a lot Rinker his brother and their mule team often spent their nights in open publicly maintained corrals where teenagers gather to hang out and practice rodeo skills not something we encounter here in the Boston to Washington megalopolis The writing about the actual trip is detailed but evocative so I felt like I was watching the scenery and riding along in the covered wagon myself I wasn’t uite so interested in the wagon maintenance aspects of their journey but I’m sure those sections will delight some readers

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Traveling from St Joseph Missouri to Baker City Oregon over the course of four months Buck is accompanied by three cantankerous mules his boisterous brother Nick and a Jack Russell terrier named Olive Oyl Along the way they dodge thunderstorms in Nebraska cha. Didn't die of dysentry but nearly died of boredom As someone who yes played that 'Oregon Trail' game I was so looking forward to this book Man decides he wants to travel along the Oregon Trail In an actual wagon pulled by mules Sure why not Sadly this book really really REALLY needed a better editor It's a story of the journey the history of the Oregon Trail a memoir of working with his brother who came on the trip various reminisces of his father who used to do somewhat similar things It's too much Unfortunately the author doesn't stick with just one thing We spend several pages on the types of mules We are treated to digressions about wagons and the uality of materials people had We get snippets of what he remembers about his relationship with his father uite frankly I really didn't need all of that Or at least not in this uantity It might have been better if the book had been divided up into chapters by theme the animals the wagon the trail itself etc There are some really great passages such as when he discusses how in the early years travelers could easily survive by picking or using the discarded materials from the wagons who were further along the trail Game was plentiful and it became a sort of system where some could very likely pick up what they needed on the trail Or be suckered by a savvy merchant who picked up the discarded items and upsold them to travelers THAT is what I wanted to read about I really wasn't interested in his digressions about his family Some of it was interesting but I wanted to drop the book when he talks about watching his father give a speech and Howard Zinn is in the audience Other reviews disliked the discussion of politics and the profanity neither of which I strictly minded but when it derails from the main point of the book it's frustrating I'm sorry but this wasn't the book to work out your issues over your dad There are some good historical discussions and information in here but unfortunately like the 49ers of old you'll have to really sift through the other stuff in order to get to it I had really been looking forward to this story about THE OREGON TRAIL but sadly this book is not it Library for sure

Rinker Buck × 0 read

The Oregon Trail A New American JourneyE ghost of their father an eccentric yet loveable dreamer whose memory inspired their journey across the plains and whose premature death many years earlier has haunted them both ever since The Oregon Trail is a majestic uniuely American journey of a lifetime. 25 stars It was alright an average bookI mostly enjoyed the author's account of his journey along the trail especially the parts about the mules and dog but the multitude of tangents varied greatly with how interesting they were or were not Also could have done without the author's numerous political and societal opinions which make you uestion his ability to intelligently research and assimilate other material used for the book If read as a light hearted memoir instead of a factual nonfiction book it's not bad While the brother will be off putting to some due to his colorful vocabulary I found his interjections of humor refreshing in what otherwise could be dull at times Favorite uote The contradiction of being able to see the modern world clearly from the vantage of a nineteenth century wagon appealed to me Seeing America slowly was in a way like eating slow food I wasn't covering much ground in a single day but I was digesting a lot First Sentence I had known long before I rode a covered wagon to Oregon that naïveté was the mother of adventure