RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip

Thirteen Moons, by Charles Frazier & Will Patton (Narrator)

16 HOURS ON 13 CDs

Thirteen Moons

How would you like to take a virtual road trip on the American frontier circa 1800? Charles Frazier has given us the opportunity to do just that, complete with descriptions of accommodations, food and traveling companions of the period. Will Cooper, a 12-year-old orphan and "bound" boy is sent to the edge of civilization to run a trading post in early 1800s. Once there, he acquires two Native American "fathers," the benevolent Bear and the scheming Featherstone. Each has a profound influence on his life as he progresses from penniless orphan to successful retailer, lawyer, wealthy landowner, Indian rights activist, Senator, Confederate officer and, finally, to introspective old man. At 12 years old, he wins Claire in a card game, and although he can never truly possess her, he can never let her go. The love he feels for her haunts him throughout the story.

Frazier has created a work of historical fiction with such vivid descriptions it is hard to remember that the characters are the work of his imagination, even if the foods they ate, the clothes they wore, the smells they smelled and the hardships they endured are based on historically accurate accounts. At one point he describes the sensation of eating a squirrel by popping its head into your mouth, rolling it around with your tongue, sucking the meat out of the cavities and pushing the clean, empty skull out between your lips. It's not pretty, but it does evoke an image of conditions of the time.

This audio book is full of historical facts about the events and people of the era. Will Cooper, in trying to protect Bear's land and keep him and his people from being a part of the "Trail of Tears" meets John C. Calhoun, Andrew Jackson, Davy Crockett and many other recognizable figures of the nineteenth century. He observes the events leading up to and culminating in the U.S. Civil War, the expansion of the railroad, and the effects of industrialization on the American frontier. Because the story is told in the first person and read so expressively by Will Patton, listening to the book becomes a very personal experience-like hearing a respected elder recall a lifetime of events.

This is a wonderful book for anyone who appreciates the beauty of language and the ability of a skilled writer to paint vivid pictures with words. Armchair (or driver's seat) historians will enjoy the wealth of political and historical information that emerges from Will's commentary, but be prepared to run to the computer or a history book for further information as his observations pique your curiosity.

Ruth Mormon

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