Top critical review
Enjoyable episodic history, with need for more perspective and maps
Reviewed in the United States on November 28, 2019
I've read a stack of Western histories, and this one I enjoyed. It gives an often blow-by-blow (quite literally) account of how the West was explored, especially conquered, with details about aspects not often covered in other books, such as the journey to Oregon by the Whitmans. It can also be overly specific and wordy at times. We don't need so many details of verbal exchanges between adversaries, for instance. We need less of the what, and more of the so what---what makes that episode important. Yes, thanks for telling us, for instance, about how the railroads were built, but say more about how they transformed the West. Also there is a great need for some maps! There are zero, except behind the covers. I had no idea where a number of the forts, battles, camps, and trails mentioned actually were, and it was frustrating not to know. The West is a big place.