332 pages (trade paper)
I bought this book primarily to read the diaries of the women who made the trip overland in 1838 from the East to the Oregon Country and the missions established by the Whitmans and Spaldings.
Drury has done an excellent job combining diary entries and letters in chronological order to give us a good understanding of the hardships these intrepid pioneers endured. They also give us a valuable picture as to the people who made this trip to bring the light of Jesus to the 'heathen' Indians. These people were not angels, they were, well, people. Humans, actually, with all the frailties involved, both physical and psychological. Petty squabbles and shifting friendships made for an interesting trip, I'm sure.
This is the first of three books, and dealt primarily with Asa and Sarah Smith. Although the book is about the early missionaries, it is not a book that will try to convert you, it is the reporting of their lives, their journey, their hopes, and their dreams. Trust me when I say their lives did not live up to their dreams! They thought they were coming out to preach to the Indians, not to have to build their homes, till the land, do all the work required merely to survive. I think the men were the most disappointed. The women just carried on as women did and do.
Highly recommend this book if History appeals to you. Very well written and extremely well edited.