By James A. Michener
This is James Michener’s epic novel of Colorado. Reading Michener is always an enjoyable and learning experience, though he won’t be brief. (This is 900 pages.) There are many riveting stories. The epicenter of the tale is northern Colorado, on the high plains near Greeley9, on the shores of the South Platte River. The readers learn about the world of the fur traders in the 1700s, the world of the Arapaho and other Indian tribes of the West, both before their conflicts with the white settlers during the conflicts of the 1800s, the cattle drives that came up from Texas, the pioneers who came to Colorado and through Colorado in the mid-1800s, the huge cattle ranches on the open range, the settlers who founded towns in the West and the later demise of many of those towns, the problems and resources of Colorado today.
One understands the crucial role of water and the lack of it in much of the West.
In many ways this is not just the story of Colorado but the story of the West, especially in the late 1700s and throughout the 1800s. But the story also includes the Depression years and Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
Moreover, the story includes other places, where settlers came from: St. Louis, the gateway to the West, the large Texas cattle ranches, German farms in Pennsylvania, the life of Mexicans in Mexico and more.
The story of the West is a grand tale, a tale of triumphs and tragedies, a tale of courage and brutality, a tale of adventure and constant change.