Some people think that's crazy. "It's just about dead people." But to me, history is fascinating. These people lived. They thought, they felt, they cried, they laughed. Just like you. Just like me.
They had dreams and fears like anyone else. They lost loved ones. They seen battles fought and a country be born. They struggled with the same struggles as anyone else.
I thought I would share with you my top five favorite historical books.
1. Jim Bridger - Mountain Man by Stanley Vestal
Now I know I have mentioned this before to people. But, I love this book! It was so neat to learn about the real Jim Bridger. I'd heard stories about this wild mountain man all my life but never knew who he truly was.
You'll discover he was a brother struggling to support his sister. At a young age he headed into the mountains where his legend would be born.
He fought Indians and bears.
He married. He buried his wife. He married again. He buried her as well. He married a third time.
He was a father to six children. He buried one and another would be killed at the Whitman Massacre.
I highly recommend this book!
I loved it so much, I bought it for myself.
2. One Woman's West by Martha Gay Masterson and Lois Barton
Recollections of the Oregon Trail and Settling the Northwest Country
This autobiography intrigued me the moment I picked it up. I've always loved the pioneer days and grew up listening to stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. It was neat to read another girls experiences of the days when our country was expanding.
Laura grew up in the Midwest while Martha's father settled them in Oregon during the 1850's. I think I enjoyed it so much because Oregon is near to my heart and it was easier to picture the scenery she described.
This book shares almost all of Martha's life from a child to a old woman.
She suffered hardships with weather, snakes, Indians, and death.
Later she would marry a man who had wander lust and would move her over twenty times! I don't know how she handled it all.
3. Lost in Death Valley by Connie Goldsmith
Why this book interests me so much, I don't know. It was written so well I could almost feel the sun beating down on me as I turned each page.
As the cover says, it's about four families during the California Gold Rush. They decide to take a "shortcut" through "Death Valley" which proves to be deadly.
I advice to keep a glass of water near by as you will get thirsty. *wink*
A sad, interesting tale!
4. Davy Crockett's Own Story as written by himself - David Crockett
Everyone knows, I love Davy Crockett. I first fell in love with the character played by Fess Parker as a young girl. That voice still sends shivers up my spine. *smiles*
As I grew up, I wanted to know about the real Davy. I was a little nervous, I'll admit, to dig deep and find out. I was afraid my hero would no longer be fit to be my hero.
I searched and discovered that, though it is sometimes said he did not truly do this, a book was supposedly written by the great Davy Crockett. I searched my library and was pleased to see they had a copy! I placed it on hold and was ready to find out what the real man was like.
I knew a little about his life, but not a lot.
I discovered he was a spirited young boy, a young man who had his heart broken, a woodsman, soldier, Colonel, congressman, friend of Andrew Jackson, and a lover of his country.
Though he had some qualities I did not approve of, such as drinking, I fell in love with him even more. I laughed when he did, I cried when his dear Polly passed away.
Did you know Davy, a father of three small children, went on to re-marry a widow?
That he knew the famous river man Mike Fink?
That George Russell was a young man whom he had a small relationship with during his war years? But someone whom he greatly respected.
That the song "Farewell to the Mountains" sung in the Disney films was actually two verses from a long poem Davy himself had written?
That he met a young boy whom he only calls "the beekeeper" and who would later die in his arms at the Alamo?
That Davy kept a journal during that time? Which the second part of this book is?
If you want to know Davy, I suggest reading this book!
I would like to add that I would read this version pictured, published in the 1950's. It has Davy's autobiography in the beginning and then at the end is his journal from his Texas times to bring more closure to the story.
Did you know, before the Little House books, Laura wrote an autobiography of her life? That she was told it was not interesting enough to be published and to go home? That maybe if she wrote it in story form, changing a few things, maybe then people would want to read it?
I am so thankful that now they have learned Laura's life was fascinating in all it's truth. Forgotten since the 1930's, today Laura's true life is finally becoming known.
Did you know that Laura's beloved Jack did not travel with them west?
That during the Long Winter, a married couple was also stranded in their home, whom "Mother" (as Laura calls her) delivered a baby to?
That Laura thought herself to be in love with another young man?
If you love the Little House books, and Laura, read this and discover that her real life was filled with excitement, fear, and joys new to us!