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America's Forty-Niners and the Overland Trek to the California Gold Fields

Journeys of Personal Triumph and National Mission

Malcolm J. Rohrbough

Americans have always taken journeys. In the seventeenth century they moved to establish new church communities in New England and new plantations beyond the tidewater in Virginia and Maryland. In the eighteenth century individuals and families continued their searches for more fertile and cheaper lands beyond the reach of tax collectors and landlords. By 1750 they reached the crest of the Appalachian mountain range where they gazed toward the interior valleys of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The success of the North American revolution and the establishment of an independent nation in 1783 intensified these migratory instincts, no longer blocked by London’s imperial policies. For three generations after independence, from 1776 to 1850, Americans – families long on this continent and new immigrants – settled the interior of the continent and established thriving, albeit diverse societies based on widespread availability of land, ready access to water transportation, cultivation of staple crops for a commercial economy and, in the south, the growing use of slave labour (Rohrbough 1978).

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Nick Pearce, Robert Burroughs, Liza Oliver, Susan Parman, Ulrich Ufer, Peter D. Finlay and Rohrbough

David Blamey (ed.), Here, There, Elsewhere: Dialogues on Location and Mobility. 272 pp. London: Open Editions, 2002. ISBN 0-949-00413-8, £14.99 a22.50 (paper). Review by Nick Pearce

Roger Casement (Séamus Ó Siocháin and Michael O’Sulllivan, eds), The Eyes of Another Race – Roger Casement’s Congo Report and 1903 Diary. ix and 350 pp. Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2003. ISBN: 1-900621-98-3, £39.95 (hardback) ISBN 1-900621-99-1 £18.95 (paper). Review by Robert Burroughs

Brian Dolan, Exploring European Frontiers: British Tavellers in the Age of Enlightenment. ix + 232 pp. Houndsmills: Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2000. ISBN 0-333-78987-3, £80.00 (hardback). Review by Liza Oliver

Rod Edmond and Vanessa Smith (eds), Islands in History and Representation. xiii and 234 pp. London: Routledge, 2003. ISBN 0-415-28666-2, £60.00 (hardback). Review by Susan Parman

Ina-Maria Greverus, Anthropologisch Reisen. 395 pp. Hamburg: Lit Verlag, 2002. ISBN: 3-8258-5720-4, a12.90. Review by Ulrich Ufer

Glenn Hooper, The Tourist’s Gaze: Travellers to Ireland, 1800–2000. xxxii + 268 pp. Cork: Cork University Press, 2001. ISBN 1-85918-277-1, £45.09/a57.25 (hardback), ISBN 1-85918-323-9, £18.07/a22.95 (paperback). Review by Peter D. Finlay

Michael E. Zega and John E. Gruber, Travel by Train: The American Railroad Poster, 1870–1950. xi + 140 pp. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0-253-34153-3, £43.00 (hardback). Review by Malcolm Rohrbough