Kirjailijakuva

Dale L. Morgan (1914–1971)

Teoksen Jedediah Smith tekijä

32+ teosta 497 jäsentä 4 arvostelua

Tietoja tekijästä

Sarjat

Tekijän teokset

Jedediah Smith (1953) 195 kappaletta
The Great Salt Lake (1947) 54 kappaletta
Utah: A Guide to the State (1941) — Toimittaja — 33 kappaletta
Overland in 1846, Volume 1 (1993) 23 kappaletta
Overland in 1846, Volume 2 (1993) 19 kappaletta
State of Deseret (1940) 10 kappaletta
The Bread Book (1973) 9 kappaletta

Associated Works

Three Years in the Klondike (1967) — Toimittaja — 42 kappaletta
Dakota war whoop: Indian massacres and war in Minnesota (The Lakeside classics) (1864) — Toimittaja, eräät painokset26 kappaletta
Great Salt Lake: An Anthology (2002) — Avustaja — 6 kappaletta
The Valley of the Great Salt Lake (1959) — Avustaja — 6 kappaletta
Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 4 (Fall 1970) (1970) — Avustaja — 2 kappaletta
Utah Historical Quarterly - Vol. 36, No. 1, Winter 1968 (1968) — Avustaja — 2 kappaletta
Utah Historical Quarterly - Vol. 27, No. 2, April 1959 (1959) — Avustaja — 2 kappaletta

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My reaction to reading this book in 2004.

This is regarded as the definitive biography of Smith. I was a bit disappointed on a couple of levels.

Like Robert Marshall Utley's A Life Wild and Perilous: Mountain Men and the Paths to the Pacific, Morgan, even though Smith's life is his main focus, hops around a bit in his chronology and settings during the interludes where he talks about the activities of other mountain men simultaneous to Smith's. This is a bit confusing at time.

I was also disappointed that Morgan disagrees with Utley's thesis that Smith mainly trapped beaver to subsidize his wanderings. Here Smith seems like a man mostly interested in making money and the exploration just a side effect of looking for new trapping grounds. I was disappointed that the quotations from Smith's journals were relatively sparse, and Morgan barely touches on Smith's missing maps and journals except briefly noting them in his introduction. (He mentions a Maurice S. Sullivan whose "extraordinary" scholarship found and published fragments.) Perhaps there was new scholarship in this regard between Morgan's book and Utley's book 46 years later.

Still, there is a lot of interest here. Morgan covers the difficulties Smith experienced in his two trips to and from California and his political problems with Spanish authorities who feared he was a spy. He was the first American to enter California from an overland route. He talks about Smith's involvement in the three worst massacres suffered by mountain men: the Arikara massacre of 1823 (10 men), the Mojave massacre of 1827 (10 men), and the Umpquah massacre of 1828 (15 men) -- which Smith survived by virtue of not being in camp when the Indians attacked. Morgan gives the details about how the parties of American mountain men would comport themselves and care for their horses in hostile (usually Blackfeet) territory and the exchange rates of cash or goods for furs.

He also does a good job (though he makes it clear he's building on the work of others) of explaining how the Hudson Bay Company was an agent of British imperialism during the time of Smith's explorations (1822 to 1831) when the ownership of the Pacific Northwest was not decided. Smith keenly and explicitly realized that his explorations and those of other mountain men showed that settlers with wagons and stock could cross the Rocky Mountains to the fertile county of Oregon -- and also the possibility, if America did not succeed in asserting a claim to the region -- of a British naval base and shipyard at the mouth of the Columbia River.

Smith the man comes across fairly well given how much time he spent in the wilderness with largely illiterates. He was a devout Methodist who, in his letters, frequently expressed a desire that his money go to the succor of his family and friends. He drank very sparingly, never smoked, and was probably the only mountain man to shave regularly while traveling in the wilderness. He does come across as having a bit of a temper when dealing with the Spanish in California. He keenly observes the British at the Hudson Bay Company's outpost Fort Vancouver, and, while he urges the United States Secretary of War, to assert American supremacy in the area, he also notes the kindness, generosity, and support shown him by the Hudson Bay Company employees after the disastrous Umpquah massacre -- particularly since he's a commercial competitor and the British also know that a way to assert a claim to the Northwest is the commercial exploration of fur. (A business the Spanish in California seemed not to have heard of.) I got the impression the British partly aided him out of a very British Empire spirit of white men against the ignorant and dangerous natives.

Smith endured a lot of physical hardship and privation on his journeys to and from California. A search for water is what led to his death at the hands of Commanche on the Santa Fe trail. The man who had been in the fur trade's great battles with Indians died alone and not engaged in trapping but escorting some wagons to Taos.
… (lisätietoja)
 
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RandyStafford | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 10, 2014 |
Morgan has written a very detailed account of the opening of the West by the early Mountaim Men and trappers. Using what written documents he could find, he tells us about rivers and valleys discovered, battles with Indians, numbers of beaver pelts brought into St. Louis and first contact of American explorers with the Spanish in California. The other purpose of this book is to document the life of Jedediah Smith who the author claims is the most important explorer of the West after Lewis & Clark.… (lisätietoja)
 
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lamour | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 27, 2012 |
It's been 11.5 years since I read this, so my memory has faded. But they are fond memories. J. Smith is such a fascinating story. He was a fur collector who lived well beyond the edge of civilization, a true explorer by accident who roughed it to the point of surviving sure death. Following his life provides little windows into several other stories otherwise unknown to me, including first recorded looks at much of the west, mountain man-Indian hatred, the South Pass, the isolated Spanish outposts, and a little of what life was like for the mountain men. He survived Indian fights, a massacre by the Indians in current Oregon (he was one of two survivors), a grizzly bear attack that deformed his face and trek through the the basin and range deserts of Nevada and Utah.

Did he "discover" South Pass? I can't remember. But he was the first whiteman known to have survived crossing the basin and range desert from east-to-west.

Smith is not a typical mountain man story. He is truly his own story, irreplaceable - and nothing replicates him. He simply covered more ground and survived more times than any of his contemporaries. His survival is critical, because that is what allows his life to be documented.

I seem to recall Morgan writing this as more of a serious history than a story. It is, in a way, a classical attempt to bring history to life through the raw power of bare facts. I'm not sure literary polishing can improve upon Morgan's version. It's a story that can stand on its own.
… (lisätietoja)
1 ääni
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dchaikin | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 20, 2007 |
Detailed account of Smith's activities in the West, boring read like a typical history text.
 
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Ikest | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 19, 2007 |

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Teokset
32
Also by
27
Jäseniä
497
Suosituimmuussija
#49,748
Arvio (tähdet)
½ 3.6
Kirja-arvosteluja
4
ISBN:t
33
Kielet
1

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