Edward F. Beale and the American West

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University of New Mexico Press, 1983 - Biography & Autobiography - 306 pages
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Edward Fitzgerald Beale (1822-93) was a major figure in the history of the American West. Few Americans have gained distinction in so many different fields- naval officer, explorer, bureaucrat, rancher, politician, and promoter. During his lifetime, Beale was regarded as "Mr. California," and numbered among his friends such preeminent men as Robert F. Stockton, Kit Carson, Thomas Hart Benton, Bayard Taylor, U.S. Grant, and many others. A study of Beale's life offers important insights into many of the events and personalities that dominated post-1845 America. A colorful and interesting man, Beale successfully pursued a personal El Dorado of adventure, status, and wealth. In so doing, he mirrored the dreams of countless Americans of his day. Despite his achievements and importance, Beale has been largely forgotten. He is remembered, if at all, as a quixotic man who presided over a strange experiment to introduce camels into the Southwest. The intended purpose of this biography is to portray him as a human being- complex, with qualities of greatness and weakness- and to fix his position more precisely within the historical landscape. -- from Preface

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