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Jim Beckwourth and Jim Bridger: The Lives and Legacies of America's Most Famous Mountain Men

Narrated by: Mark Norman
Length: 2 hrs and 44 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Exploration of the early American West, beginning with Lewis and Clark's transcontinental trek at the behest of President Thomas Jefferson, was not accomplished by standing armies, the era's new steam train technology, or by way of land grabs. These came later, but not until pathways known only to a few of the land's indigenous people were discovered, carved out, and charted in an area stretching from the eastern Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, and the present-day borders of Mexico and Canada. Even the great survey parties, such as Colonel William Powell's exploration of the Colorado River, came decades later. The first views of Western America's enormity by white Americans were seen by individuals of an entirely different personality, in an era that could only exist apart from its home civilization. The American mountain man, with his myriad of practical skills, could endure isolation in a way most could not. He lived in constant peril from the extremes of nature and from the hostilities of cultures unlike his own. In an emergency, assistance was rarely available, and he rarely stayed in one place long enough to build even a simple shelter. 

Travel in the American West relied upon a specific calendar, and to ignore it could be fatal, as many discovered, to their misfortune. Winter in the mountainous regions of the Rocky Mountains and Cascades was lethally cold to explorer and settler alike, but desert areas and grass plains presented difficulties as well. The network of rivers flowing west of the Mississippi on both sides of the continental divide served as early highways to the Wyoming and Montana regions, the Oregon Territory, Utah and Colorado, and the California southwest. Some were placidly tranquil, while others raged through the extreme elevations, all but defying navigation. Contact with indigenous tribes was problematic enough with linguistic and cultural barriers, but to survive, there required a sensitivity to tribal food sources and sacred areas when traveling. The profession of trapping was, in itself, a trespass on Native American resources, and yet the mountain man's existence was fueled, in part, by the tangible rewards of the fur trapping trade. 

©2017 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors

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Okay and very matter of fact accounts

I got this because of Jim Beckwourth which I wanted to learn more about. I'm listening to books about and by African Americans for Black History Month. Jim Bridger was White, but the book was spilt up evenly between both.

Their lives were fascinating as frontier and mountain men. It looks like there's a movie in development about Beckwourth so it'll be interesting to see if it comes to fruition.

I have a beef about the narrator. He's British which is okay, but he pronounced names of Native American peoples and American places all wrong. Every time he said Montana or Cheyenne I cringed! They should record those parts again, or really the whole book. It's short, but the mistakes are all throughout the book. I won't listen to anything narrated by this man unless it's about England.

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Story was good, narration, not so much

I really hate to see people complaining about the narrator mispronouncing words, but in this case, it happens a LOT. The narrator has an English accent, and has trouble pronouncing almost every tribe name. After a while it really becomes annoying to the point of interfering with the story.