HISTORY

The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West

S. & S. May 2019. 352p. ISBN 9781501168680. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781501168697. HIST
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Pulitzer Prize winner McCullough (Wright Brothers) illuminates the lives of early settlers into the Ohio country. The Northwest Territory was acquired from Britain following the American Revolution; the seed of the future Great Lakes states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. McCullough highlights that this region was founded as free-soil territory, a refreshingly positive spin on American history. The story centers on the settling of Marietta, OH, while also touching on developments in other parts of the region. The text presents the hardships of pioneer life, including the daily labors, the dangers of childbirth, and tensions with Native Americans. The work concludes in the mid-19th century. In many ways, one can see this as a continuation of McCullough's 1776, with the young United States now hatching into a large civilization whose ideals migrated west with the settlers. The author's gift for telling history as a story through the lives of those who lived it will engage even casual readers, who will enjoy the accessible style and gentle pace. However, the narrative is from the perspective of white settlers, and some may want more information on the indigenous people. 
VERDICT A read for American history buffs, produced by one of today's greatest scholars.

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