The pioneers : the heroic story of the settlers who brought the American ideal West / David McCullough.

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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: "Best-selling author David McCullough tells the story of the settlers who began America's migration west, overcoming almost-unimaginable hardships to build in the Ohio wilderness a town and a government that incorporated America's highest ideals. As part of the Treaty of Paris, in which Great Britain recognized the new United States of America, Britain ceded the land that comprised the immense Northwest Territory, a wilderness empire northwest of the Ohio River containing the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. A Massachusetts minister named Manasseh Cutler was instrumental in opening this vast territory to veterans of the Revolutionary War and their families for settlement. Included in the Northwest Ordinance were three remarkable conditions: freedom of religion, free universal education, and most importantly, the prohibition of slavery. In 1788 the first band of pioneers set out from New England for the Northwest Territory under the leadership of Revolutionary War veteran General Rufus Putnam. They settled in what is now Marietta on the banks of the Ohio River. McCullough tells the story through five major characters: Cutler and Putnam; Cutler's son Ephraim; and two other men, one a carpenter turned architect, and the other a physician who became a prominent figure in American science. They and their families created a town in a primeval wilderness, while coping with such frontier realities as trees of a size never imagined, floods, fires, wolves, bears, even an earthquake, all the while negotiating a contentious and sometimes hostile relationship with the native people. Like so many of McCullough's subjects, they let no obstacle deter or defeat them. Drawn in great part from a rare and all-but-unknown collection of diaries and letters by the key figures, The Pioneers is a uniquely American story of people whose ambition and courage led them to remarkable accomplishments. This is a revelatory and quintessentially American story, written with David McCullough's signature narrative energy. "--Dust jacket.
    • Content Notes:
      Part I: 1787-1794 : -- The Ohio country -- Forth to the wilderness -- Difficult times -- Havoc -- Part II: 1795-1814 : -- A new era commences -- The Burr conspiracy -- Adversities aplenty -- Part III: 1815-1863 : -- The cause of learning -- The travelers -- Journey's end.
    • Notes:
      Includes bibliographical references (pages 301-314) and index.
    • ISBN:
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Booklist Reviews 2019 April #2

Drawing on little-known archives, acclaimed popular historian McCullough offers a unique chronicle of the settlement of the Ohio River Valley that emphasizes the courage and tenacity of early pioneers and the precedents they set for further westward expansion. The Northwest Territory was the "howling wilderness" that extended northwest from Virginia as far as Minnesota, and it was forbidding country, though the land was fertile, luring settlers down the Ohio River. Among them were Manasseh Cutler, a high-energy polymath preacher and botanist whose lobbying secured key congressional support for the pioneers; his son Ephraim, Federalist legislator and educational advocate involved in the founding of the region's first university and an early library system; and Rufus Putnam, the general who led a group of Revolutionary War veterans to found the New England-inspired town of Marietta on the banks of the Muskingum. Their stories form the backbone of McCullough's narrative, though he is equally fascinated by less prominent settlers, who demonstrated remarkable grit under extremely adverse circumstances. This is a compact work, but it often feels epic. And Pittsburgh-born McCullough's personal affection for the region abounds.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Best-selling McCullough's latest vivid take on American history will generate avid interest. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2018 December #1

Two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, McCullough is set to give us another terrific book on U.S. history. He chronicles how the Northwest Territory, comprising the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, was settled largely through the efforts of Massachusetts minister Manasseh Cutler to open the territory to veterans of the Revolutionary War. Events unfold through the founding of what is now Marietta, OH, and the stories of five key individuals, including Cutler. With a 500,000-copy first printing.

Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

LJ Reviews 2019 May

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. VERDICT A must-read for American history buffs, produced by one of today's greatest scholars. [See Prepub Alert, 11/5/18.]—Jeffrey Meyer, Mt. Pleasant P.L., IA

Copyright 2019 Library Journal.