THE FIELDS OF EDEN by Richard S. Wheeler


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The latest historical western from the Wheeler (Masterson, 1999, etc.) heads out and up to the Oregon frontier in the 1840s. Then under the control of the British (who were determined to stop US expansion well short of the Pacific), Oregon was ripe for settlement and attracted pioneers with its fertile soil, abundant rains, and rich timberlands. The ones we meet here are Wheeler’s usual baker’s dozen: the immigrant O’Malleys (who are fleeing the potato famine and British oppression), the opportunist Abel Brownell (who can scent the opportunity for a quick profit a thousand miles off), the idealistic missionary Jasper Constable, and the firebrand Garwood Reese (who dreams of uniting the settlers under the American flag and ejecting the British). In their different ways, they all come up against the intransigence of John McLoughlin, head agent of the Hudson Bay Company (owner of the territory), who is responsible both for the welfare of the settlers and the interests of his employers.

A kaleidoscope of fact and fiction that touches on some underexplored historical backwaters.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-312-87309-3
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2001


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