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Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck

In the bestselling tradition of Bill Bryson and Tony Horwitz, Rinker Buck's "The Oregon Trail" is a major work of participatory history: an epic account of traveling the 2,000-mile length of the Oregon Trail the old-fashioned way, in a covered wagon with a team of mules--which hasn't been done in a century--that also tells the rich history of the trail, the people who made the migration, and its significance to the country.

This wasn't bad, but I got bored so many times it took twice as long to finish then I thought it would.

Great concept, but the novel could have been half the length. The author went off on tangents about things I didn't care about and didn't move the focus of the story along. Example: four pages about mules.

I love Oregon Trail, Pioneer type stuff. I have read a lot about that time period. The idea he and his brother did the full length in a covered wagon? Totally cool! I could never do that. But then they stopped and spent the night in a trailer and bought groceries at gas stations. I know they didn't have forts or people to trade with like the original Pioneers did and they couldn't hunt,but I still would have liked to read about them taking salted pork, flour, dried beans and fruit with them and calculating how much they would need to bring etc..etc..

Not bad, just kind of dry and the author, kind of a dumb ass, his brother Nick, much smarter than Rinker gives him credit for. Even I know then when travelling by covered wagon you take one trunk and everything you want needs to fit inside it, you won't need things like salad spinners or glass casserole dishes out there on the prairie. Thankfully Rinker figures it out, but with all the research he did to start the expedition I was surprised how much he clung to "romanticizing" it rather than thinking about life in a covered wagon practically.

Kind of disappointing, but had some cool facts. I didn't know the entire trail was marked and you can actually visit some of it!