O America: Discovery in a New Land

Front Cover
University of Missouri Press, Feb 14, 2020 - Fiction - 345 pages
As word of the discovery of gold in northern California spreads, an English physician, Nathaniel Trennant, accepts an offer to serve as doctor on a ship carrying immigrants to America. Alongside some two hundred emigres from northern Europe is a contingent of wealthy British people who call themselves not immigrants, but colonists. With this imported cultural divide, Nathaniel begins a long journey into what he terms the American experiment, one already under the stress of social injustices and economic inequities.

Trennant arrives in Baltimore and stumbles onto its slave market, where he witnesses the horrors of human bondage. One night in a boardinghouse he discovers under his bed a runaway slave. Disturbed and angered by the selling of human lives, he offers to help the young man escape, a criminal action that will put the slave and physician into flight from both the law and opportunistic slave hunters.

Traveling by foot, horse, stage, canal boat, and steamer, the two men gradually form a bond as they explore the backcountry and forge a deep friendship as they encounter the land and a host of memorable characters who reveal the nature of the American experiment.

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O America: Discovery in a New Land

User Review  - William Least Heat Moon - Publishers Weekly

Heat-Moon (Blue Highways) offers a view of 1848 America via a British doctor’s journal in this introspective adventure narrative. After 34-year-old physician Nathaniel Trennant gives a lecture in ... Read full review

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About the author (2020)

William Least Heat-Moon, pen name of William Trogdon, is of English, Irish, and Osage ancestry. He lives in Missouri on an old tobacco farm he's returning to forest.

His first book, Blue Highways, tells of a 13,000-mile journey around America on back roads. His second work, PrairyErth, is a narrative exploration into a corner of the great tallgrass prairie in eastern Kansas. River-Horse gives an account of his four-month sea-to-sea voyage across the United States on rivers, lakes, and canals. In Roads to Quoz, Heat-Moon sets out for a half-dozen peculiar American destinations that have long intrigued him. Here, There, Elsewhere brings together a collection of his short-form reportage about places around the world. These six major books have never been out of print. His first work of fiction, Celestial Mechanics appeared in 2017.

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