978-0-8050-3304-5 / 9780805033045

A Life Wild and Perilous: Mountain Men and the Paths to the Pacific


Publisher:Henry Holt & Co



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About the book:

It's true, Robert Utley writes, that mountain men such as "Crazy Bill" Williams and Jeremiah "Liver-Eating" Johnson were an unlearned, unwashed, drunk, and violent bunch who tore a bloody swath across the then-unconquered American West from the 1810s to the 1840s. Yet their travels across deserts and plains and over high mountains yielded a huge body of geographical knowledge that would enable American pioneers to cross the Mississippi and traverse the continent in relative security. Utley, a historian with a fluent narrative style, tells the stories of hard-fighting men like Jim Bridger, Benjamin Bonneville, Kit Carson, and Joseph Walker, whose names now figure prominently on maps of the region but are otherwise little remembered.

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