Francis Parkman

Easton Press Francis Parkman books

The Oregon Trail - 1980
The Battle for North America - Library of Military History - 1987

Franklin Library Francis Parkman books

The Oregon Trail - World's Best Loved Books - 1981
The Oregon Trail - 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature - 1983

Author Francis Parkman

Francis Parkman (September 16, 1823 - November 8, 1893) was an American author and historian who was born in Boston Massachusetts. From a young age, Parkman displayed a keen interest in history and the natural world, nurtured by his upbringing in a family of intellectuals and scholars. After graduating from Harvard College in 1844, he embarked on a series of journeys across the American West, immersing himself in the rugged landscapes and vibrant cultures of the frontier. He was a student of law, and graduated from Harvard University in 1844. Following his education, Francis Parkman traveled in Europe briefly and, upon returning to America, he traveled west to explore the American Rocky Mountains. He spent time with the Dakota Indians, and fell ill during the time with them.

Parkman's experiences in the wilderness inspired his literary ambitions, and he set out to chronicle the epic saga of the European colonization of North America. His monumental work, France and England in North America, a multi-volume series published between 1865 and 1892, remains his most enduring legacy. In this sweeping narrative, Parkman traced the clash of civilizations between French and English colonial powers, from the early explorations of the St. Lawrence River to the bloody conflicts of the French and Indian War. Through meticulous research and vivid prose, he brought to life the larger-than-life figures who shaped the destiny of the continent, from Samuel de Champlain and John Smith to Pontiac and Tecumseh. His most famous book The Oregon Trail was written after a hard journey from Missouri to Oregon. While The Oregon Trail is not written as an account of this journey, it does contain many of his experiences. Following his success with The Oregon Trail in 1849, Francis Parkman wrote and published another of his famous books The Conspiracy of Pontiac in 1851. His writing following this period earned him recognition as an authority in the topic of France's struggling position in America.

The Francis Parkman books on the French struggle in America are written as a series, and include the following titles:
The Pioneers of France in the New World - 1865
The Jesuits in North America - 1867
La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West - 1869
The Old Regime in Canada - 1874
Count Frontenac and the new France under Louis XIV - 1877
Montcalm and Wolfe - 1884
A Half Century of Conflict - 1893

Parkman's magisterial account of the American frontier was hailed for its scholarly rigor, literary merit, and evocative storytelling. His ability to blend historical analysis with vivid narrative made his works accessible to a wide audience, earning him acclaim both at home and abroad.

Francis Parkman also wrote his Historic Handbook of the Northern Tour in 1885. Following the many years of writing, his eyesight had deteriorated to the point of no longer being able to read, and he continued to be in poor health. In addition to his historical writing, Parkman was also an avid traveler and adventurer, undertaking expeditions to the Rocky Mountains, the Oregon Trail, and the Great Plains. These experiences informed his understanding of the American West and enriched his narratives with firsthand observations and insights.

Despite facing numerous challenges, including poor health and financial struggles, Parkman remained dedicated to his craft, producing a body of work that continues to be studied and admired by scholars and readers alike. His influence on the study of American history and literature is immeasurable, and his legacy as a chronicler of the American frontier endures to this day. Francis Parkman passed away on November 8, 1893, but his writings continue to inspire and enlighten readers, offering a window into the rich tapestry of America's past. As we navigate the complexities of our own time, Parkman's works serve as a reminder of the enduring spirit of exploration, discovery, and resilience that defines the American experience.

Today Francis Parkman is viewed as an important figure in American literature who made valuable contributions as an American historian. He is also respected for his adventure seeking way of finding material for his historical writings. Through out his life, he not only traveled extensively in North America but also traveled several times to Europe. Francis Parkman also traveled to all locations of importance discussed in The Oregon Trail and his other books. His life story as an author is often viewed as one of heroic adventure.

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