©1984 Dana Fuller Ross; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
The narrator. Brilliant.
The narrator can make or break a story, however good it may be. I can't wait for more of his work!
It was exactly the right mix of adventure, danger and human stories without being too scary or mushy or unbelievable.
He has such a lovely rich voice but his accents/voices were so convincing that you easily distinguish each character, and he influences how you feel about them.
Not being American but loving social history in any case, the story got me researching various aspects and following their journey on the map, so it has also widened my horizons!
I really got involved with several characters and didn't want the story to end! I have 3 weeks to wait for my next credits for the next book, how will I manage?!
United States President Andrew Jackson, and financier and fur trader, John Jacob Astor, are in a race with the British and the Russians to settle and claim the Oregon Territory. Jackson calls upon his close friend, mountain man and rugged veteran Sam Brentwood, to put together a wagon train with the purpose of traveling overland to Oregon and settling the territory. The train of prairie schooners eventually includes over 500 people - folks who were willing to risk their lives to make the first overland trip across America in an entourage of this kind. They were motivated by the gift of 600 acres of free land to homestead in Oregon, and the opportunity to start new lives. The financial situation in the US was terrible during this period. Due to a major depression many of the potential Oregonians had lost their jobs, life savings and/or property.
Brentwood, the wagonmaster, and his assistant Whip Holt, begin the journey in Long Island along with a beautiful, feisty widow, her younger sister, and the sister's elderly husband. The small group pick up more people and covered wagons as they slowly move cross-country to Independence, Missouri. Missouri will be the pioneers' last look at civilization until the Pacific Northwest is reached.
This fictional account of the first wagon train to cross the US is extraordinary. The characters are complex and very well developed. They obviously grow and change throughout the journey of almost three years. The author vividly brings history to life here. And the politics behind the settling of the West are fascinating, as are the descriptions of the land and the Native Americans the group encounters along the way. As one would expect, the novel is filled with tales of adventure, hardship, courage, love, loss, tragedy and triumph.
"Have already enjoyed 3 in this series!"
I finished this book a week ago and am nearly finished with Book 3 in this series. If you are a fan of American frontier history, you should enjoy this series. I love it. The author, Dana Fuller Ross has created a series which allows one to enjoy American history during the 1900's, state by state. I really enjoyed the intrigue of espionage as the young country of America struggles to survive and expand amidst competing Russia, England, and Native Americans of different tribes. The story includes acts of courage, romance, brutality, generosity, honor, and fierce determination against natural and human adversities. After starting with the "Texas" book 4, I realized it was part of a series(thanks to Audibles new feature of identifying "series"). Once I realized the Texas book was book 4 of a 10+ series, I purchased book 1: "Independence". Now I'm hooked, finished books 1 , 2, 4 and am nearly finished with Book 3: Nebraska. The narrator, Phil Gigante, does an outstanding job. I love the continuity of his voice from book to book. I was planning to switch to modern day espionage "The Gray Man series" but I'm so enjoying the "Wagon's West" series that I haven't yet started listening to the two of three "The Gray Man" modern day espionage books I downloaded to my library. I'm hooked on audio books. I listen to them before bed, while driving, etc. Enjoy the "Wagons West" series. I recommend highly.
"Wagons West - Independence"
Awesome story. Caught your imagination and interest early and was narrated very well. I was even able to get my husband to listen to this series with me!!! Couldn't wait to download the next book in the series and am currently listening to the final story Wagons West - Oregon.
"Everything I Expected"
Having already read the Series in paperback I was most pleased that the speaker was easy to listen to and easy to follow. I also was impressed with the ability to stop and start without loosing my train of thought, even from one day to the next.
The actual story of the book was an awesome undertaking. Although a fictional version of an actual event it never-the-less gave a very realistic touch to historical facts. It incorporated the spirit of the American People and the "Pioneer Spirit" of the explorers of this day and age. The hardships, the victories, the failures, and the dreams, hopes and aspirations of our young nation and the great effort of the people that have always stepped to the forefront when needed.
Mr Gigante's performance was excellent and I will continue to purchase the remaining books of this series.
Wagons West of Course
"A Relaxing Listen"
Being retired & not driving any more I find Books like Wagons West to be most relaxing. I chose Audible Books over radio & TV, no commercials. I enjoyed the cast of characters, a microcosm of the then society!
How the Wagon Train leader overcame the last obstacle.
He did a very good job reading.
No, I usually fall asleep & continue later. My Books last longer that way.
I am checking out Volume 2 now.
INDEPENDENT THINKING WOMEN WERE TROUBLE MAKERS
I liked the book, I didn't love it, but I liked it. It had the makings of a great book. I love tough hard to get along with women and it had that. It had historical facts and I liked that. It had some action. I just could not get excited about it. Maybe I missed the rough talking clichéd cowboys. I much more enjoyed The travels of Levi Zendt in James Michener's Centennial. I just don't think the writing was as good as some other westerns. Sorry, I just can't put a finger on it. James Michener, Dusty Rhodes, Cormac McCarthy, Phillip Meyer and David R. Lewis are better writers.
"Great Historical based Story"
Full of adventure yet really told the story of the hardships faced by our early pioneers. Showed the American Spirit of all people's being equal and accepted by one another no matter where you came from or who you were. Hats off to Phil Gigante who makes the characters come alive.
"Predictable, dull, very elementary"
This book has the feel of a book written for youngsters. Nothing wrong with that except not my preference. I'll skip the rest of the series.
Paper-thin plot, characters, and details. Nothing happened that cost the characters anything real and they never made sense in their actions or feelings.
"Wagons West Independence!"
I enjoyed this book very much. I loved the way the words flowed into pictures so easily visible in my mind. I like the historical era, filled with challenges, and Hope. I like the variety of characters and the few horrid details were necessary for this story to feel real. I especially loved being able to listen to the Narrator bring all the characters to life in such a believable way. I recommend this book highly. I'm interested in listening to others in this series.
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