The Old Trails West

Moody, Ralph
Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1963
Reviewed by: Courtney T.

This book is almost like a history book. There is no storyline, setting, or main characters. The author, Ralph Moody, is basically writing about the historic trails throuhout the "old west". In the foreward, he explains how he's always been curious about the trail marks he would see when he was a little boy working on a large cattle ranch. What were the people traveling for and how did they know where to go? In this book, Ralph Moody has written a chapter per trail in which he researched. He tells about the founders of the land and how they were able to communicate through the use of rivers and symbols left throughout the trails. He starts off with the Gila (pronounced Heela) Trail, which was actually the Gila River. Basically all the trails he wrote about were actualy rivers. Rivers were the easiest routes, according to Ralph Moody, because you could always know which way you came from by turning around and starting back. You didn't have to know where you made a left hand turn or which way you went at a fork in the "road". He writes how most of America was founded through the use of the trails in the west. That was the main reason to pack up and leave; to go to a new and undiscovered land which now makes up all of America.

Best Quotes: "An old man's story is wrote in the lines on his face; an old trail's story is wrote in the lines on the face of the earth."
Basically, Hank, an old man who worked with Moody on the cattle ranch, was saying how the trails left behind many stories and mysteries of the past.
"To them it was a sin to kill ar steal from another Apache, but it was a virtue to kill and rob anyone else, for all others were tresspassers upon the earth, and whatver they possessed had been stolen from the supply Usen made for His People. In their belief, they were The People, and for them- and them alone- Usen had made the sun, the moon, and the stars, the earth, and everything upon it."
Ralph Moody was writing about the Gila Trail when he wrote this. He is saying that the Apache Indiands belived that the land was theirs and theirs alone. Anybody who tried to take anything from them ur tresspass among them was to face a high probability of death.

My Opinion:
This book really didn't interst me that much. There's many grapghs, maps, and diagrams that were hard to follow and understand. The autor jumps from one pkace to the next, and you never quite know where you are from one page o the next. Like I stated before, this was basically a history book more than a book for pleasure. I would recommend this book for a research project on the western trails, but not for something you would want to read for a pleasant weekend.

Star Rating (Out of Four):starstar

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