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Dreams of El Dorado - H.W. Brands


For an interesting  look at American history in the West, try “Dreams of El Dorado”, the story of how fur trappers, gold miners, homesteaders and folks of all types striving to make their fortunes went to Western American in the 1800’s and how they found their fortunes or their ends, by H. W. Brands.

The author begins with the story of Lewis and Clark and their expedition to find the Pacific, through the founding of Texas, the gold rush in California, through the building of the transatlantic railroad, the Civil War and the end of slavery, and the start of the mythic West and Teddy Roosevelt with his Rough Riders.

It includes famous gunfighters, Indian fighters, Indian leaders and a vivid description of how the pioneers faced adversity (google “Donner party” for more information). Some found their fortunes, from John Jacob Astor to John Fremont to Abraham Lincoln and Teddy.

An interesting lesson on how the rugged individualist of the West was actually funded in large part by the US government for its own ends, and how the West was settled and built. A good read in these divided times, I think, of how our forefathers faced much greater adversity than most of us and persevered.



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