Book Review: Narcissa Whitman

Reading Level

Ages 9-12

More Books by This Author

• George Washington, Spymaster
• The Revolutionary John Adams
• Thomas Jefferson
• The Adventurous Life of Myles Standish

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This is the second book in a projected eight-part series by the amazing Cheryl Harness, American history author extraordinaire. It is the story of a woman who traveled along the Oregon Trail on a journey of faith and exploration in the early 19th Century.

Our introduction to this story is a fascinating and well-detailed map of the world as it was when Marcissa Whitman was born, in 1808. The various empires are labeled, as are other countries.

This is the story of the Westward Movement as well, and the highlights are here, including Lewis & Clark, the various "Mountain men" and the trails that they followed on their way west, and the Native American tribes and where they lived (in another of a series of extremely helpful and well-detailed maps).

We follow Narcissa as she marries Marcus and heads west with him, along the Oregon Trail. (Here again, the Trail is illustrated deftly in a beautifully drawn map. These maps are really the stars of the show in this book.) They have a few harrowing adventures on their journey, on water and then across land, in wagons and on horseback. They do eventually reach the Oregon Territory, but what happens next is perhaps a surprise.

Each page has a timeline of concurrent events, both in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, providing us with a bigger picture of what was going on in the world at the time.

As with the first book in the series, The Adventurous Life of Myles Standish, this book takes a somewhat familiar story and widens it with tremendous detail, making it readable and entertaining with deft prose and meticulously detailed maps (all done by the author, by the way).

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Social Studies for Kids
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