Raymond Starr, Book Reviews Editor
Overland to California in 1859: A Guide for Wagon Train Travelers. Compiled and Edited by Louis M. Bloch, Jr. Cleveland: Bloch and Company. 1983. Maps. Illustrations. Index. 64 Pages. $9.95 Hardback.
Overland to California is a children’s book which addresses the problems of choosing a route, organizing a company, supplies and provisions, camping, marching, Indians, fording and other pertinent topics. It is based on primary sources originally published in the 1850s and 1860s, and is nicely illustrated with black and white drawings. There are maps, although they may not be too helpful to young readers. The book would give young readers a pretty good idea of the process of moving westward in 1859, with one reservation. By using nineteenth century sources, the book conveys nineteenth century attitudes. This is especially significant in assessing the image projected of the Indians encountered on the trip westward.