Many readers found De Voto's Year of Decision somewhat too consciously erudite. Here -- for such a market -- is an historical summer travelogue, that pieces together the jigsaw puzzle pieces of Westward expansion, from the 1840's on, with a sense of tremendous interest and compelling authenticity. The author, with her husband, son and relative, for many summers followed the tracks into the past. They retraced main and cut-off trails of the great migration, they used primary source material for route making and guidance. They solved puzzles and southt landmarks; they drew their own conclusions and relived past events...The first travelers, the Indians, prairie rations, the rivers, the cumulative effect of the terrors, epidemics, characters of the past, and the hazards they endured, characteristic and individual incidents, -- all in all this is an impressive contribution to the literature of the Oregon-California trails. There is not a dull moment in it -- for all the research and identification is accompanied by the personal story of the party, what they did and how they did it, and what they were like when they did it, to whom they talked en route, and what they learned. Excellent American, pioneer history in telling terms. Dr. Paden (of Alameda, California) had a predilection for field work on western trails; Mrs. Paden took notes and made sketches and photographs.