Announced as Vol. I in ""The American Vista Series,"" this long and carefully selected collection of quotations from contemporary sources covers the history of the American Middle-West from 1634, when Nicolet reached the Straits of Mackinac, to the 20th century and the discovery of Chicago by Frank Lloyd Wright. First to penetrate the Midwestern wilderness came the 17th-century Frenchmen, explorers, traders, missionaries: Nicolet; Father Hennepin, captured by the Sioux; La Salle, paddling down the Mississippi; in the 18th century soldiers and surveyors, trappers and farmers, worked through the wilderness, penetrating the Ohio forests, planting orchards, building roads, founding cities. In the 19th century came tourists and observers, scientists and novelists and journalists, notebooks in hand: Audubon and Melville and Dickens; the one-legged newspaper man, Hoffman; Mrs. Trollope, accurate and acid; Harriet Martineau with her eartrumpet in Chicago; Margaret Fuller. Railroads and canals, colleges and small towns, the ""tin-lizzy"" and steamboats --they are all here, as are also disasters: the terrible Wisconsin-Michigan forest fires of 1873, the Chicago fire, the fake land schemes that ruined thousands. Containing many fascinating selections but too weighty for easy reading, this lengthy volume, designed primarily as a gift book, should appeal to Midwest amateur historians and literate readers interested in their own regional background; professional historians and teachers should value it for its little-known source material.