The Oregon Trail

  • by Rinker Buck
  • Narrated by Rinker Buck
  • 16 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the best-selling tradition of Bill Bryson and Tony Horwitz, Rinker Buck's The Oregon Trail is a major work of participatory history: an epic account of traveling the entire 2,000-mile length of the Oregon Trail the old-fashioned way, in a covered wagon with a team of mules - which hasn't been done in a century - that also tells the rich history of the trail, the people who made the migration, and its significance to the country.
Spanning 2,000 miles and traversing six states from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean, the Oregon Trail is the route that made America. In the 15 years before the Civil War, when 400,000 pioneers used it to emigrate West - historians still regard this as the largest land migration of all time - the trail united the coasts, doubled the size of the country, and laid the groundwork for the railroads. The trail years also solidified the American character: our plucky determination in the face of adversity, our impetuous cycle of financial bubbles and busts, the fractious clash of ethnic populations competing for the same jobs and space. Today, amazingly, the trail is all but forgotten.
Rinker Buck is no stranger to grand adventures. The New Yorker described his first travel narrative, Flight of Passage, as "a funny, cocky gem of a book", and with The Oregon Trail he seeks to bring the most important road in American history back to life. At once a majestic American journey, a significant work of history, and a personal saga reminiscent of best sellers by Bill Bryson and Cheryl Strayed, the book tells the story of Buck's 2,000-mile expedition across the plains with tremendous humor and heart. He was accompanied by three cantankerous mules,;his boisterous brother, Nick; and an "incurably filthy" Jack Russell terrier named Olive Oyl.
Includes an extended behind-the-scenes conversation with author/narrator Rinker Buck with his brother and trail companion, Nick Buck.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An author does not a good narrator make

Why, oh why, oh why, why, why, do writers who put enormous energy and time into a venture only to ruin it by reading it themselves? Is it ego? Does he not have a good friend to quietly pull him aside and tell him it stinks? I'm sorely disappointed to return this book after looking forward to it for so long.
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- C. Davis

Little About The Trail - All About Him

Would you try another book from Rinker Buck and/or Rinker Buck?

I doubt it. The title and the subject of the book were deceptive. It should have been called - Finding Myself and My Family on the Oregon Trail.


Would you ever listen to anything by Rinker Buck again?

Only if it is rated high by all reviewers (the average rating of stars is misleading. Finding the median would have been more accurate.) and not if he narrates it.


How did the narrator detract from the book?

His reads his own book with great effort. It is stilted and often irritating.


You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Not really... It did give a good description of mule breeding, but it could have been a short story or article. He did recommend another book at the beginning of his book that would probably be a better representation of a book on the Oregon Trail.


Any additional comments?

I live on the Oregon Trail. I live within 15 miles of where he passed, and I was looking for something that was more about the trail than about a man trying to find himself, having lived under the shadow of his father, and his own uncertainties. Never compare this to the works of Bill Bryson. This book was not humorous, it was not engaging, and the author often seemed to get lost in his story of himself, and not focusing on the trail -

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- Harold Stone

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-30-2015
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio