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Barbour tells how a youthful Smith was influenced by notable men who were his family's neighbors, including a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition. When he was 23, hard times leavened with wanderlust set him on the road west. Barbour delves into Smith's journals to a greater extent than previous scholars and teases out compelling insights into the trader's itineraries and personality. Use of an important letter Smith wrote late in life deepens the author's perspective on the legendary trapper. Through Smith's own voice, this larger-than-life hero is shown to be a man concerned with business obligations and his comrades' welfare, and even a person who yearned for his childhood. Barbour also takes a hard look at Smith's views of American Indians, Mexicans in California, and Hudson's Bay Company competitors and evaluates his dealings with these groups in the fur trade.
Dozens of monuments commemorate Smith today. This book is another, giving modern listeners new insight into the character and remarkable achievements of one of the West's most complex characters.
The book is published by University of Oklahoma Press.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Earl on 04-16-18
If you could sum up Jedediah Smith in three words, what would they be?
Died too young.
What did you like best about this story?
The history the mountain men played in the settling of America
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Any additional comments?
Wish there were more documentation to his life.