A Newer World: Kit Carson, John C. Frémont, and the Claiming of the American West

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Simon & Schuster, Jan 1, 2000 - History - 320 pages
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John C. Fremont, nearly forgotten today, was one of the giants of nineteenth-century America. He led five expeditions into the American West in the 1840s and 1850s, covering a greater area than any other explorer. His expedition reports -- ghost-written by his beautiful and talented wife, Jessie Benton Fremont -- were bestsellers in their day. Riding the wave of his popularity, he captured the Republican Party nomination for president in 1856 but narrowly lost the election.

Fremont's scout on three of his expeditions was Kit Carson. Fremont fancied himself a mountaineer, and he possessed great stamina and courage, but he lacked Carson's skills and knowledge. The only expedition Fremont led without Carson was a disaster that, like the better-known Donner Party debacle, culminated in one of the rare documented instances of cannibalism in American history.

A Newer World is the fascinating story of the Fremont-Carson expeditions and of two men, utterly unalike in so many ways, who became friends as well as fellow explorers. Fremont owed his life to Carson, who saved him on several occasions, while the legend of Kit Carson, the greatest mountain man of his day, grew out of Fremont's expedition reports. The Fremont-Carson expeditions are second only to Lewis and Clark's in their significance for America's western expansion. Their 1845-46 campaign, for example, helped to precipitate the Mexican-American War and led to the wresting of California from Mexico.

Carson is often remembered today for his 1863-64 roundup of Apaches and Navajos, leading to the infamous Long Walk. David Roberts demonstrates that Carson, who was twice married to Indian women, was profoundly ambivalent about thecampaign, which was ordered by an Army officer who was his superior.

Throughout the book, Roberts draws on little-known primary sources in telling the dramatic stories of these expeditions. He shows how Fremont saw himself as a historical figure, especially in his reports, while Carson -- taciturn where Fremont was outspoken, modest where Fremont was boastful, and, significantly, illiterate -- was oblivious to his own fame. Yet it was Carson who underwent an evolution from an Indian killer to an Indian advocate.

In addition to his archival research, Roberts traveled the routes of Fremont and Carson's expeditions to gain a firsthand knowledge of the territory they explored. In analyzing how Fremont and Carson advanced the Americanizing of the West, Roberts writes with a modern-day sensitivity to the Indians, for whom these expeditions were a tragedy.

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A NEWER WORLD: Kit Carson, John C. FrÇmont, and the Claiming of the American West

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A vigorous narrative of the intersecting lives of two of the most outsized figures in the American West: the trapper, guide, and Indian fighter Kit Carson, and the ebullient, grandstanding officer ... Read full review

A newer world: Kit Carson, John C. Frémont, and the claiming of the American West

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

John C. Fr mont, an explorer and later a Civil War figure, began his first expedition in 1842 to map out the Oregon Trail. In St. Louis, preparing for his trip, Fr mont hired Kit Carson as his chief ... Read full review


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About the author (2000)

David Roberts was born on May 8, 1970. He is a British children's illustrator. He has illustrated a large number of books in both black and white and colour. he has worked with such well-known authors as Philip Ardagh (on the Eddie Dickens and Unlikely Exploits series), G.P. Taylor (on the Mariah Mundi series), Chris Priestley (on the Tales of Terror series), Mick Jackson (on Ten Sorry Tales and The Bears of England), and Susan Price (on the Olly Spellmaker series). Mouse Noses on Toast by Daren King won the Nestle Smarties Book Prize (ages 6 -8 years) in 2006, after which King and Roberts collaborated on other titles including Peter the Penguin Pioneer, Sensible Hare and the Case of Carrots and The Frightfully Friendly Ghosties series. He was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2015 for his title Tinder.

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