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A Land So Strange: The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vacaby Andres Resendez
Synopses & Reviews
In 1842 John C. Frand#233;mont led a party of twenty-five men on a five-month journey from Saint Louis to the Wind River Range in the Rocky Mountains; his goal: to chart the best route to Oregon. In 1843 Frand#233;mont was commissioned for another expedition, to explore the Great Salt Lake, Washington, eastern California, Carson Pass, and the San Joaquin Valley, places that did not yet belong to the United States.
His journals from these expeditions, edited in collaboration with his wife, Jessie Benton Frand#233;mont, and published by Congress, thrilled the nation and firmly established Frand#233;montand#8217;s persona as the Great Pathfinder. Part descriptive survey, part rousing adventure story, Frand#233;montand#8217;s account was far more than a travelerand#8217;s guide. His tales of courage and wit, descriptions of beautiful landscapes, and observations about Native Americans strengthened Americansand#8217; sense of a national identity and belief in Manifest Destiny. Still a fascinating page-turner today, Frand#233;montand#8217;s report documents the opening of the West even as it offers a firsthand look at the making of the American myth.
Anne F. Hyde provides an introduction to this signature American story that contextualizes the report, outlines Frand#233;montand#8217;s rise and fall, and shows how, for better or worse, this explorer exemplifies the nineteenth-century American spirit.
In 1528, a mission set out from Spain to colonize Florida. But the expedition went horribly wrong, and only four of the 300 men survived. In this enthralling tale, Resendez brings to life the vast, dynamic world of North America just a few years before European settlers would transform it forever.
In 1528, a mission set out from Spain to colonize Florida. But the expedition went horribly wrong: Delayed by a hurricane, knocked off course by a colossal error of navigation, and ultimately doomed by a disastrous decision to separate the men from their ships, the mission quickly became a desperate journey of survival.
Of the three hundred men who had embarked on the journey, only four survived—three Spaniards and an African slave. This tiny band endured a horrific march through Florida, a harrowing raft passage across the Louisiana coast, and years of enslavement in the American Southwest. They journeyed for almost ten years in search of the Pacific Ocean that would guide them home, and they were forever changed by their experience. The men lived with a variety of nomadic Indians and learned several indigenous languages. They saw lands, peoples, plants, and animals that no outsider had ever seen before.
In this enthralling tale of four castaways wandering in an unknown land, Andrés Reséndez brings to life the vast, dynamic world of North America just a few years before European settlers would transform it forever.
About the Author
Andrés Reséndez is Professor of History at the University of California, Davis. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and has written numerous books and articles on such subjects as the history of Mexico and the American Southwest. He lives in Davis, California, with his family.
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