Of all the mountain men who walked the Rocky Mountains a century and a half ago, none other is so completely alive as Joe Meek. This book has been described as a howling yawp of youth and vitality, challenge and danger, exultation and joy. It is all of that and more.
This is the second volume of Joe’s story: The Oregon Years.
The River of the West is easily the most reliable and extensive first-person history ever written of that unique and never-to-be-duplicated era. An extraordinary first-hand account of those who came West and lived with the land.
Originally published in 1870, this book includes the original illustrations and offers a new introduction, map, notes, bibliography and index.
In the first volume of ‘The River of the West’, The Rocky Mountains, we meet Joe Meek as a dashing and valiant trapper. In this volume, with the help of his wife, Joe comes to light as pioneer, sheriff, U.S. Marshall, and legislator.
Through Meek’s wondrous recollections, his memoir also becomes an important history of Oregon’s formative years, and that of the entire Northwest United States. The struggles of women, Native Americans, missionaries, trappers, early settlers, explorers, and the Hudson’s Bay company all shaped a territory, and finally a state.
It is fact, but more than that. It’s the truth of an era and place.
As all good stories are, it is the blend of the objective and what is imaginatively implied about the days when giants roamed the raw West.
The issues of life and death were often in the balance, and these were decided by the cool judgment of natural leaders–women and men, Native Americans and whites. Those leaders come through in folk literature as heroic. They were. They were also authentically human and worthy of admiration, flaws and all.
Put together, it is the sort of historic memoir that we love, the sort that ennobles us.
About the Editor, Win Blevins
Editor Win Blevins is an expert on the fur trade era. He has written screenplays about the mountain men. His first book, “Give Your Heart to the Hawks,” perhaps the best collection of mountain man adventures and stories, has been in print for forty years.
Blevins is the recipient of the 2015 Owen Wister award for lifetime achievement for Literature of the West. He is also in the Western Writers Hall of Fame.
“Win Blevins has long since won his place among the West’s very best.” Tony Hillerman on ‘Give Your Heart to the Hawks.’
“Blevins possesses a rare skill in masterfully telling a story to paper. He is a true storyteller in the tradition of Naïve people.” Lee Francis, Native American Studies, UNM
“Blevins shows us the glory years of frontier life, fresh and rich.” Kirkus Reviews on ‘Beauty for Ashes’
“One of the finest novels to come out of the American West in a long time. An amazing book, grandly conceived and beautifully written.” Dallas Morning News on ‘Stone Song, The Story of Crazy Horse.’