Pony express tales, tall and true


Source: amazon.com

Source: amazon.com

I just finished reading the book, The Pony Express Trail: Yesterday and Today, by author and historian William E. Hill last week. The book is an informative read that provides a snapshot history of this famous cross-country courier service and a detailed listing of pertinent data such as the names of the riders (both confirmed and unconfirmed), station locations, related museums, including a current summary of condition of the trail and remaining structures along it.  As a historical resource, the book is very useful and it would be a great guide for anyone who wishes to follow in the galloping footsteps of these valiant riders and their speedy steeds.

While a tremendous and valuable resource, I would not say it is a book that will have the reader fixated from cover to cover. There are interesting stories, but they tend to be repeated or at least start to sound repetitive. Perhaps that is a result of a limited supply of surviving first-hand sources. To his credit, Mr. Hill readily notes the unfortunate lack of extant information from that era and the probable reasons why.

The author also clearly points out the myths, legends, and misinformation about the pony express. While this can be a bit deflating for those who are history buffs, it is rewarding to learn about the actual persons and events and not be persuaded by tall tales handed down erroneously from generation to generation.

If you are looking for a guide to the pony express or love to learn about its finer details, this book is certainly for you. If you are looking for romantic notions of the American West, you should probably find a novel about the pony express to read instead.

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This entry was posted in Animals, art, book reviews, books, commerce, Communications, entrepreneurship, geography, historic preservation, history, logistics, North America, trails, transportation, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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