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Wilderness At Dawn: The Settling of the North American Continent (edition 1993)
by Ted Morgan
Wilderness At Dawn: The Settling of the North American Continent by Ted Morgan
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This is the biggest, grandest, most sprawling epic ever told, filled with battles and hardship, courage, determination, daring voyages into the unknown, and eye-opening discoveries... From the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of FDR, Winston Churchill, and Somerset Maugham, Wilderness At Dawn is the sprawling, roughhouse epic of the unsung heroes, heroines, and rogues who tamed the rugged continent that became our country. Here is a masterpiece of history, research, and storytelling, the panoramic epic of the North American continent and the vast array of characters who thought they could civilize it. Concentrating on those previously ignored by "polite histories" (ordinary settlers, unknown soldiers, scalawags, pioneer women, slaves, and Native Americans), Morgan uses scenes and dialogue from actual letters, journals, and diaries to recreate the odysseys, adventures, human dramas, and inhuman suffering that shaped America. Beginning with prehistoric man's first forays across the Bering Land Bridge, Morgan unfurls a rich tapestry of lost civilizations and Indian accomplishments; ambitious explorers, would-be politicians and transplanted Europeans confronting the wilderness; scrappy newborn towns and dandified plantation societies; great river navigations and catastrophic explorations; the bloody Indian wars and the birth of the American revolution. All are here - the triumphs, tragedies, battles and intrigues from the Ice Age when Early Man roamed an empty continent to the achievement of the all-American dream of "Land for Every Man." Morgan takes us into the world of the lost Anasazi people, where inventive Indians built houses of 500 rooms, veritable "cities of stone" tucked among the canyon walls. He takes us into the lives of the Indians of the Southwest where a shipwrecked Spanish explorer named Cabeza de Vaca became an indentured servant (and later medicine man) to a tribe of Indian fishermen. We see the arrival of the first Jews in North America, the harsh hierarchies of the Puritans, the intricacies of the rice planter societies of the early 1700s in Carolina. Enriched by Ted Morgan's own visits to most of the sites he describes, enlivened by the actual words of characters such as the circuit-riding minister Charles Woodmason, the freed slave Thomas Jeremiah, the frontiersman Christopher Gist and the plantation manager Eliza Lucas, Wilderness At Dawn is a lively world of rich historical storytelling and adventure.
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