NARRATIVES OF EXPLORATION AND ADVENTURE by John Charles; edited by Allan Nevins Fremont


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Nevins' biography of Fremont: Pathfinder of the West is evidence of his appreciation of a controversial figure, too often misinterpreted and- considered in the light of his opportunism and his disastrous political career. In an introductory section to this editing of his Memoirs and government reports, Nevins briefly sketches the portrait as he sees him, with qualities of greatness far outweighing his shortcomings. His years of exploration (1838-54) entitle him to recognition as one of our great explorers, standing with Lewis and Clark, Pike, Cass, Long, Nicollet. In his three expeditions he covered more ground than any other; his Memoirs and Reports are distinguished contributions to botany, cartography, geography. He opened up the agricultural possibilities of so-called deserts, (particularly the Great Basin). The high achievements of these years offset the murk and confusion of the Mexican War, the glitter and misadventure of his later years. The material here reissued is taken from the Memoirs and the Reports, and -- with brief space given to his early years, preparation, marriage to Jessie Benton- the concentration is on the first three expeditions. They make very good reading- for this reader better reading than the Lewis and Clark diaries.

Publisher: Longmans, Green