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Cover of: What I Saw In California | Edwin Bryant
About the Book

Edwin Bryant made the journey from Independence, Missouri to California in the years 1846-47, through the southern pass of the Rocky Mountains and across the desert.

As a medical student, he became an unofficial doctor along the way, and witnessed some gruesome scenes, like the amputation of a little boy’s gangrenous leg, which he describes in painful scientific detail. He is equally explicit when portraying the daily life of the wagon trip, and his prose illuminates the trials of the traveler: "During the process of cooking supper, it commenced raining and blowing with great violence. Our fire was nearly extinguished by the deluge of water from the clouds, and our dough was almost turned to batter..."

Bryant intended his work to function as both entertainment to the general reader and instruction for those planning to follow his path, and the book is a repository of useful information, like distances, weather, water source locations, and descriptions of plant life. As such, it is invaluable to enthusiasts of Western history.

It is also a really good story, with entertaining sketches of camp life, Indians, and animals. Bryant’s descriptions of the landscapes are particularly compelling: "The vast prairie itself soon opened before us in all its grandeur and beauty...The view of the illimitable succession of green undulations and flowery slopes, of every gentle and graceful configuration, stretching away and away, until they fade from the sight in the dim distance, creates a wild and scarcely controllable ecstasy of admiration."

The variety of Bryant’s adventures is striking – in one day he is present at a death, a wedding, a funeral, and a birth. He is often nearly overwhelmed by the functions of nature going on around him, and is particularly moved by the continuous presence of death: "One of our party who left the train to hunt through the valley, brought into camp this evening a human skull. He stated that the place where he found it was whitened with human bones. Doubtless this spot was the scene of some Indian massacre, or a battle-field where hostile tribes had met and destroyed each other. I could learn no explanatory tradition; but the tragedy, whatever its occasion, occurred many years ago."

What I Saw in California is the classic yet remarkable adventure of a young man heading west, well-written and full of historically useful information.

28 editions First published in 1848

Edition Read Locate Buy
Cover of: What I Saw in California
What I Saw in California
January 30, 2007, BiblioBazaar
Paperback in English
Cover of: What I Saw in California
What I Saw in California
August 9, 2007, IndyPublish
Hardcover in English
Cover of: What I Saw in California
What I Saw in California
August 9, 2007, IndyPublish
Paperback in English
Cover of: What I Saw in California (Large Print Edition)
What I Saw in California (Large Print Edition)
January 30, 2007, BiblioBazaar
Paperback in English
Cover of: What I Saw in California
What I Saw in California
November 3, 2006, Hard Press
Paperback in English
Cover of: What I Saw in California
What I Saw in California
May 30, 2006, IndyPublish.com
Paperback in English
Cover of: What I Saw in California
What I Saw in California
May 30, 2006, IndyPublish.com
Hardcover in English
Cover of: What I Saw In California
What I Saw In California
February 28, 2005, IndyPublish.com
Hardcover in English
Cover of: What I Saw In California
What I Saw In California
February 28, 2005, IndyPublish.com
Paperback in English
Cover of: What I Saw in California
What I Saw in California: By Wagon from Missouri to California in 1847-48
July 1, 2001, The Narrative Press
Paperback in English
Cover of: What I Saw in California
What I Saw in California
2001, The Narrative Press
Electronic resource in English
Cover of: What I saw in California
What I saw in California
1985, University of Nebraska Press
in English
Cover of: What I saw in California
Cover of: What I saw in California
Cover of: What I saw in California.
What I saw in California.
1967, L. Osborne
in English
Cover of: What I saw in California
Cover of: What I saw in California
Cover of: What I saw in California
Cover of: What I Saw in California
Cover of: What I saw in California
Cover of: What I saw in California
Cover of: What I saw in California
Cover of: What I saw in California
Cover of: What I saw in California
Cover of: What I saw in California
Cover of: What I saw in California
Cover of: What I saw in California
What I saw in California: being the journal of a tour
1848, D. Appleton & Company, G.S. Appleton
in English
Cover of: What I saw in California

History

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