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Audubon's Western Journal: 1849-1850

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By: (1812-1862)

Audubon's Western Journal: 1849-1850 offers readers a fascinating firsthand account of the American West during the mid-19th century. Written by John Woodhouse Audubon, the son of renowned naturalist and painter John James Audubon, this book provides a unique perspective on the landscapes, wildlife, and people encountered during a journey through the frontier.

Audubon's detailed descriptions and vivid illustrations bring to life the rugged beauty of the wilderness, from the towering mountains to the winding rivers and vast plains. His observations of native American tribes, settlers, and wildlife shed light on the complex interactions that shaped the West during this period of rapid change and expansion.

The author's eye for detail and deep appreciation of the natural world make this journal a captivating read for history buffs, nature lovers, and anyone interested in the early exploration of the American West. Audubon's Western Journal is a valuable addition to the literature on the frontier and a must-read for anyone curious about this pivotal moment in American history.

Book Description:
John Woodhouse Audubon , son of the famous painter John James Audubon and an artist in his own right, joined Col. Henry Webb's California Company expedition in 1849. From New Orleans the expedition sailed to the Rio Grande; it headed west overland through northern Mexico and through Arizona to San Diego, California. Cholera and outlaws decimated the group. Many of them turned back, including the leader. Audubon assumed command of those remaining and they pushed on to California, although he was forced to abandon his paints and canvases in the desert…. Throughout the whole of this long journey Mr. Audubon took notes of scenes and occurrences by the way. In his descriptions he exhibits the keen observation of the naturalist and the trained eye of the artist. The result is a remarkable picture of social conditions in Mexico, of birds and trees, of sky and mountains and the changing face of nature, of the barrenness of the desert and the difficulties of the journey, of the ruined missions of California, of methods of mining, and of the chaos of races and babel of tongues in the gold fields. It was manifestly impossible to keep a daily journal, and the entries were made from time to time as opportunity occurred. Considering the circumstances under which they were taken, the notes are remarkable for their accuracy. Because it was not edited by Audubon, the text ends abruptly. - Summary by Book Introduction and David Wales

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