Today we have an early peek at Robert Morgan’s new saga of the Westward Expansion, Lions of the West, publishing October 18th. (See below for an excerpt.) Morgan is the author of the national bestsellers Gap Creek, an Oprah Book Club selection, and Boone: A Biography, selected as one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post.
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America’s Manifest destiny comes to life in Robert Morgan’s skilled hands, from Thomas Jefferson’s birth in 1743 to the California Gold rush in 1849. Jefferson, a naturalist and visionary, dreamed that the United States would stretch across the continent from ocean to ocean. The account of how that dream became reality unfolds in the stories of Jefferson and nine other Americans whose adventurous spirits and lust for land pushed the westward boundaries: Andrew Jackson, John “Johnny Appleseed” Chapman, David Crockett, Sam Houston, James K. Polk, Winfield Scott, Kit Carson, Nicholas Trist, and John Quincy Adams. Their tenacity was matched only by that of their enemies—the Mexican army under Santa Anna at the Alamo, the Comanche and Apache Indians, and the forbidding geography itself.
Known also for his powerful fiction (Gap Creek, The Truest Pleasure, Brave Enemies), Morgan uses his skill at characterization to give life to the personalities of these ten Americans without whom the United States might well have ended at the Arkansas border. Their stories—and those of the nameless thousands who risked their lives to settle on the frontier, displacing thousands of Native Americans—form an extraordinary chapter in American history that led directly to the cataclysm of the Civil War.
With illustrations, portraits, maps, battle plans, appendixes, notes, and time lines, Lions of the West is a richly authoritative biography of America as compelling as a grand novel.
Advance Praise for Lions of the West:
“Robert Morgan, prolific novelist and poet of the American West, again turns his hand to writing history in this collection of vivid portraits and engaging anecdotes of famous personalities of the westward expansion.”
—Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer Prize winning author of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848
“What a marvelous take on Thomas Jefferson’s Westward Expansion Movement! In a sense Robert Mogan’s Lions of the West is a sequel to Stephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage about Lewis and Clark. Morgan brilliantly showcases such outlandish characters as Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, Johnny Appleseed, Winfield Scott and many others. Morgan proves once again to be an incredible prose stylist. This is a love song to the raw back pages of American frontier democracy. Highly recommended.”
—Douglas Brinkley, author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America
“Robert Morgan has found a most engaging way to envision and explain American expansion from early nationhood until the eve of Civil War. Fourscore years come alive through biographical vignettes that pull no punches. The project is meditative rather than celebratory. Hispanic responses to the consequences of Manifest Destiny are made stunningly clear. Nation-building accrued human costs as well as remarkable heroes—all revealed with Morgan’s customary grace and flair. This is engrossing as well as judicious history, narrated by a writer who knows the terrain first hand.”
—Michael Kammen, Pulitzer Prize winning author of People of Paradox and Mystic Chords of Memory
Tags: Andrew Jackson, Boone: A Biography, Brave Enemies, Daniel Boone, David Crockett, Gap Creek, James K. Polk, John Quincy Adams, Johnny Appleseed, Kit Carson, Lions of hte West, Nicholas Trist, Robert Morgan, Sam Houston, The Truest Pleasure, Thomas Jefferson, Winfield Scott