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Extended Audio Sample The Oregon Trail Audiobook, by Francis Parkman Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.33 out of 53.33 out of 53.33 out of 53.33 out of 53.33 out of 5 3.33 (39 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Francis Parkman Narrator: Robert Morris Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2012 ISBN: 9781455171132
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This is the classic account of Francis Parkman’s rugged trip over the eastern part of the Oregon Trail with his cousin Quincy Adams Shaw in the spring and summer of 1846. They left St. Louis by steamboat and traveled on horseback, in company with guides and occasionally other travelers. They encountered storms and buffalo hunts, meeting Indians, soldiers, sportsmen, and emigrants. 

The Oregon Trail is an eyewitness account of the Mormons and outlaws, trappers and Indians, pioneers and adventurers who struggled to conquer the frontier.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In 1846, a young man of privilege left his comfortable Boston home to embark on a strenuous overland journey to the untamed West. This timeless account of Parkman’s travels and travails provides an expressive portrait of the rough frontiersmen, immigrants, and Native Americans he encounters, set against the splendor of the unspoiled wilderness. While Parkman’s patrician air and unabashed racism sometimes jolt the modern reader, this remains a colorful classic by one of the nineteenth century’s most prominent narrative historians.”

    Library Journal

  • The Oregon Trail appeared in 1849, and with its publication Parkman was launched upon his career as a storyteller without peer in American letters…It is the picturesqueness, the racy vigor, the poetic eloquence, the youthful excitement, that give The Oregon Trail its enduring appeal, re-creating for us, as perhaps does no other book in our literature, the wonder and beauty of life in a new world that is now old and but a memory.”

    Henry Steel Commager, historian

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris Kemp | 2/14/2014

    " Interesting, but a bit slow at times. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike | 2/12/2014

    " Life on the plains from a traveller interested in the Indians and wanting to view the plains before they are changed for ever. It is interesting to note the 'class' attitude to his 'inferiors'. Buffaloes, Indians and wide open spaces. As with 'Dances with Wolves' gives you a taste of what it might have been like. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roxanne | 2/10/2014

    " my edition was published by Airmont 50 cents :-) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Elizabeth Braun | 1/19/2014

    " It never ceases to amaze me how hypocritical and prejudice some people can be! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ludene | 1/18/2014

    " I read this while in college. I loved it! It is the real thing. At the time I never dreamed I would move to...Oregon. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sam | 1/13/2014

    " An account of a Boston man visiting the prairies and Rocky Mountains of North America in the 19th Century because he wanted to meet some Native Americans. He spends several weeks with bands of Dakotas, and shoots buffalo bulls willy-nilly, leaving them to rot. The book is full of dated attitudes, exemplified by his descriptions of Native Americans as "savages," but it's still a fascinating first-hand look into this region of what is now the US at a time when it was still beyond the control of the US government. It mixes amateur anthropology and natural history with a travel-adventure narrative. The endless accounts of shooting buffaloes got a bit repetitive. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Val | 1/6/2014

    " This is an absolute must read for anyone interested in American history. This book written in 1847 by a young adventurous Francis Parkman is a first hand accounting of the american west before the california gold rush and the railroad changed it forever. This is along with the Core of discovery journals has been a reference to nearly every hitrical writer since. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Justin Mahaffie | 1/3/2014

    " This was my "bathroom break book," and as it was ~300 pages of smallish type, it seemed to take forever to read through. It was repetitive at points, although he was journaling a 1700 mile trek, much of which involved prarie, buffalo, and indians. It seemed as though every chapter included a buffalo hunt, which involved the beast being shot behind the shoulder, at which point "bloody foam flew from his jaws and his great tongue lolled about." That certainly didn't detract from the enjoyment of reading the book, as I really felt that the author made excellent use of the english language, painting some wonderful visuals, and making me somewhat wish for praries and buffalo here in suburbia. Life was so much different then, I think to both our benefit and detriment. Modern conveniences, technology, medicine are all wonderful, but there's something to be said for those who slept under trees in a rainstorm, hunted/gathered their own food (and I would think appreciated it more), used buffalo skin for robes/shelter/transport of goods/etc...I'd last about a day or two, and then I'd be done in, I'm afraid (probably due to lack of air conditioning and a pillowtop matress). It was a beneficial read just from the standpoint of being introduced to terms and concepts that are foreign to the modern reader, but was well worth it from several other standpoints. This is one of the books I'll either be keeping in hopes my 4-year-old will read it when she gets more mature, or else giving it away and ordering a better (hardcover) copy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Michael Edwards | 1/2/2014

    " I had a hard time wanting to get through this one, I'd rather read straight up history than this recollection. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jamie | 11/22/2013

    " This is a great book for the study of westward expansion. I would use this with an inquiry project on the subject and allow students to research on their own. This would be one of many resources provided. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Iniville | 11/10/2013

    " His attitudes are on par with men of his background from that era, but that's part of the deal here. He's an excellent writer. This is an indispensable read if you're interested in the history of the West. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve Shilstone | 10/25/2013

    " Topnotch writing. A must for all Old West buffs. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul Jellinek | 10/16/2013

    " First-hand account of Parkman's experiences on the Oregon Trail in 1846 (although he doesn't actually follow it to Oregon) provides a vivid description of life on and beyond the frontier unlike any I've read before. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 J. | 8/4/2013

    " horrid "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Monte | 7/26/2013

    " thomas benton hart illustrations sure a pretty to look at. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Derek | 7/5/2013

    " Well written and started out extremely good. But then Parkman's true colors as a spoiled rich kid show through. Instead of crossing the Rockies and continuing to Oregon, which would make the book's title appropriate, he stays on the plains and shoots buffalo. Lots of buffalo. Huge disappointment. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bryce | 4/7/2013

    " I think I remember enjoying this book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Avis Black | 3/22/2013

    " Horribly dull. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rob Roy | 1/11/2013

    " A travel log of the great American Desert in 1846. Not your fake western, but reality. For those interested in Black History, there is an unflattering description of Jim Beckworth. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin | 12/28/2012

    " What a difference in a travel log! I'll take this guy any day over Twain. This was pretty interesting even if they didn't go to Oregon. I thought the author a little bit of a bratt, didn't like the needless sport of buffalo killing, but I enjoyed the time among the indians. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy | 12/22/2012

    " The book I read is paperback and is only 239 pages. It is geared for younger readers but does have a lot of the story to it. I have never read one of his books before and since I bought these for my boys to read I thought I would read them, also. A Classic "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lucie | 12/18/2012

    " REALLY hard to read! VERY BIG vocabulary! Need a dictionary to understand! 1889 or something like that! HARD! HARD! HARD! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisago5 | 6/1/2012

    " Where has this book been all my life? This is the America we will never know -- should be required reading for all young adult history classes. My edition is illustrated by Thomas Hart Benton. I feel like a child in wonder reading this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jamie | 3/29/2011

    " This is a great book for the study of westward expansion. I would use this with an inquiry project on the subject and allow students to research on their own. This would be one of many resources provided. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 3/24/2011

    " Topnotch writing. A must for all Old West buffs. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rob | 12/6/2010

    " A travel log of the great American Desert in 1846. Not your fake western, but reality. For those interested in Black History, there is an unflattering description of Jim Beckworth. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 8/25/2010

    " First-hand account of Parkman's experiences on the Oregon Trail in 1846 (although he doesn't actually follow it to Oregon) provides a vivid description of life on and beyond the frontier unlike any I've read before. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy | 6/14/2010

    " If you are fond of descriptions of the multiple ways in which buffalo could be chased and shot, this book is for you.

    Plenty of historical interest. But way too heavy on the buffalo hunting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisago5 | 9/14/2009

    " Where has this book been all my life? This is the America we will never know -- should be required reading for all young adult history classes. My edition is illustrated by Thomas Hart Benton. I feel like a child in wonder reading this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leigh | 2/28/2009

    " dense, as others have said meandering and well, kind of misleading because he never gets past colorado! once he joins the indians though, the pace picks up considerably. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 1/10/2009

    " Interesting, but a bit slow at times. "

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About the Author

Francis Parkman (1823–1893) was one of America’s greatest historians. He was born in Boston to a leading Unitarian minister. He was a talented linguist at Harvard and read almost as many books in foreign languages as in English. He died in Massachusetts, having worked as a writer, journalist, and historian.

About the Narrator

Robert Morris is the founding senior pastor of Gateway Church, a multi-campus, evangelistic, spirit-empowered church in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. He is featured on the weekly television program The Blessed Life, broadcast to approximately ninety million homes in the United States and more than two hundred countries around the world. He is the bestselling author of ten books, including From Dream to Destiny, The Power of Your Words, and The God I Never Knew.