The Oregon Trail: An American Journey by Rinker Buck

The Oregon Trail: An American Journey by Rinker Buck

                Rinker Buck and his brother Nick took three mules and covered wagon across The Oregon Trail in 2011. They were the first people to cross the trail in a covered wagon in over a century. The trials and tribulations they experienced were similar to those of the pioneers of the 1800’s: questionable craftsmanship of the wagon, a constant search for water, handling mules across varying terrains and weather. In this day and age the trail wasn’t exactly like the trail of the 1840’s. Now there was plenty of state sanctioned land and corrals for camping, friendly “trail families” along the way that offered showers, food and a dry place to sleep. The brothers were determined to cross the trail without motored assistance and they did. They took part in a journey that many could only dream of but never comprehend. A journey through a huge part of American history.
                Oh, The Oregon Trail. The first images that come to mind when I read those words are that of the computer game that I felt I could never win. It always seems so mysterious and so much a part of the past that I would never have imagined someone even attempting to cross it now. Rinker though had other plans and reading of his journey across the country with his brother was extremely enjoyable. Rinker Buck did a really great job at combining the history of The Oregon Trail with his journey. He did a great job at educating the reader while also filling the book with a sense of adventure. There was peril and a sense of the unknown. The banter between the brothers brought a sense of lightness to the entire book which kept it extremely entertaining.

                This was a very intimate and personal trip for Rinker as well. It meant a lot to his brother, Nick, to take on this journey with him, and they expressed those emotions to each other. The relationship between Rinker and his father, who took the family on a covered wagon trip in 1958 and has since passed, was one that resonated with Rinker throughout the trip. Seeing that kind of introspection and the effect the journey had on Rinker just added a certain level of depth to this story. I thought The Oregon Trail: An American Journey was an interesting, fun read, with highs and lows, in need of a little editing, but overall really enjoyable. I gave this 4 out of 5 stars. The easy narrative, focused and humorous writing brought this adventure to life nicely. 

Thanks to Netgalley for this book in exchange for an honest review.


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