WESTWARD VISION by David Lavender


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arder than baked clay, the Oregon Trail is getting well-trod this publishing season, this being the third trek westward so far (cf. Moody, The Old Trails of the West, p. 827, and Webb, The Gold Rush Trail and the Road to Oregon, p. 832). Mr. Lavender's hike has the distinction of being the best-written and of having a generally larger philosophical concern. His book is intended as a detailed witnessing of the doctrine of manifest destiny at work. However, he leaves off with the California Gold Rush, which is where Moody and Webb begin to be most colorful. Mr. Lavender occupies himself with accounts of early explorations by priests, by La Salle and the Harver-Rogers team; studies of Indians along the upper Missouri; voyages of discovery ong the Northwest coast; explorations across Canada and by Spaniards on the Missouri; the Lewis and Clark expedition; the opening of the Rocky Mountain fur trade and the British-American fur trade conflict; journeys to the Columbia River by amateurs and would-be colonists; activities of the missionaries; and the great emigrations of 1839-40, 1843 and 1844. Then gold became the motivation, with its discovery at utter's Mill, and manifest destiny an ineluctable fact. Mr. Lavender spells out the westward vision with occasional rich phrases and absorbed attention to the varieties of courage with which the travellers faced discouraging obstacles.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1963
Publisher: McGraw-Hill