Jedediah Smith

No Ordinary Mountain Man
Narrated by: Douglas R Pratt
Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
Categories: History, Americas
4 out of 5 stars (162 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Mountain man and fur trader Jedediah Smith casts a heroic shadow. He was the first Anglo-American to travel overland to California via the Southwest, and he roamed through more of the West than anyone else of his era. His adventures quickly became the stuff of legend. Using new information and sifting fact from folklore, Barton H. Barbour now offers a fresh look at this dynamic figure.

Barbour tells how a youthful Smith was influenced by notable men who were his family's neighbors, including a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition. When he was 23, hard times leavened with wanderlust set him on the road west. Barbour delves into Smith's journals to a greater extent than previous scholars and teases out compelling insights into the trader's itineraries and personality. Use of an important letter Smith wrote late in life deepens the author's perspective on the legendary trapper. Through Smith's own voice, this larger-than-life hero is shown to be a man concerned with business obligations and his comrades' welfare, and even a person who yearned for his childhood. Barbour also takes a hard look at Smith's views of American Indians, Mexicans in California, and Hudson's Bay Company competitors and evaluates his dealings with these groups in the fur trade.

Dozens of monuments commemorate Smith today. This book is another, giving modern listeners new insight into the character and remarkable achievements of one of the West's most complex characters.

The book is published by University of Oklahoma Press.

©2009 University of Oklahoma Press (P)2017 Redwood Audiobooks
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Not Average

If you could sum up Jedediah Smith in three words, what would they be?

Died too young.

What did you like best about this story?

The history the mountain men played in the settling of America

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

Wish there were more documentation to his life.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Narrator could use a pronunciation guide

The book is an interesting summary of Smith's life. It would could have been improved by providing greater fidelity to the relevant diaries. The narrator detracted from the book by incorrectly pronouncing several geographic names, e.g. Oregon is pronounced (Oregun) not (Oregone). Willamette has the accent on the second syllable not the third. Klamath rhymes with mammoth. Slough is not pronouced 'sluff.'

2 people found this helpful

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what an amazing life

This book is a great description of Jedediah Smiths life. it depicts him how he was rather than a naritive loaded with bias while taking the listener on an amazing adventure.

2 people found this helpful

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Good but....

What killed it for me sometimes was the improper pronunciation of words. Other than that it was a good book

1 person found this helpful

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There was no knowledge of the pronunciation of place names. This detracted from the content.

The narrative was so poor it was difficult to listen to the interesting research this book contained. Oregon is a state and even the most ignorant can pronounce this name. If Pratt is going to narrate a book he should make more effort to be familiar with proper pronunciations!

1 person found this helpful

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Could not listen through the intro

More of a history than a story. Narrator was awful, quit before getting through the introduction. Returning

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent story, hard to follow without a map.

The best way to experience this work would be to Get out a map and follow Jedediah Smith where ever he is going.

4 people found this helpful

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Disappointing

I assume there is just not significant information about the life of Jedediah Smith to fill a book because the account of his life is only a small portion of the book. Most of the book I found uninteresting and the narration did not help.

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Boring

a book shouldn't put me to sleep while I'm driving. the content was very boring as was the narrator.

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More than I expected

This book offered more than I expected. I have previously listened to “A Life Wild and Perilous” (which I highly recommend), “The Adventures of the Mountain Men”, and a few other works on the “mountain men”. I did not expect to learn much more about Jedediah Smith with this book. In that I was wrong because this book offers much more about his California and Oregon travels and much deeper incite into the man. If you are interested in Smith or the broader topic of the western fur trade and the mountain men, this book is a must.

That is the good. The bad come from the author and narrator. The narrator has a strange choppy style that puts odd emphasis on words that feels strange. It feels like the narrator is reading the book for the first time. His performance is good enough that I didn’t stop listening but I do think a better narration could have made this a much more enjoyable book to listen too. Additionally there are a lot of unnecessary and awkward adjectives used throughout the book. I couldn’t tell if it was the author filling space or if these were actually words from the characters that the narrator did a poor job conveying as such.