In Dreams of El Dorado, H. W. Brands tells the thrilling, panoramic story of the settling of the American West, from Lewis and Clark’s expedition in the early 19th century to the closing of the frontier by the early 20th. He introduces us to explorers, mountain men, cowboys, missionaries and soldiers, taking us from John Jacob Astor’s fur trading campaign in Oregon to the Texas Revolution, from the California gold rush to the Oklahoma land rush. Throughout, Brands explores the contradictions of the West and explodes its longstanding myths. The West has been celebrated as the proving ground of American individualism; in reality, the West depended on collective action and federal largesse more than any other region. The West brought out the finest and the basest in those who ventured there, evoking both selfless heroism and unspeakable violence. Visons of great wealth drew generations of Americans westward, but El Dorado was never more elusive than in the West.
Balanced, authoritative, and masterfully told, Dreams of El Dorado sets a new standard for histories of the American West.