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The Resource West like lightning : the brief, legendary ride of the Pony Express, Jim DeFelice

West like lightning : the brief, legendary ride of the Pony Express, Jim DeFelice

Label
West like lightning : the brief, legendary ride of the Pony Express
Title
West like lightning
Title remainder
the brief, legendary ride of the Pony Express
Statement of responsibility
Jim DeFelice
Creator
Author
Subject
Language
eng
Summary
In the spring of 1860 on the eve of a civil war that threatened to tear the country apart, two Americans conceived of an audacious plan for linking the nation's two coasts, thereby joining its present with its future. This book traces the development of the Pony Express and follows it from its start in St. Joseph, Missouri 1,500 miles west to Sacramento
Tone
Review
  • With breezy efficiency, DeFelice (American Sniper) traces the life and death of the Central Overland California & Pikes Peak Express Company, commonly known as the Pony Express, or the Pony. The legendary cross-country mail service, the creation of businessmen William Russell, William Waddell, and Alexander Majors, was established in April 1860 and lasted for a mere 18 months. DeFelice argues that the Pony “existed on the cusp of great change, partook of that change, and both affected and was consumed by it.” The sheer force of the narrative, however, overshadows the argument, and it’s a pretty wild ride. DeFelice frames his story with the six-day November 1860 trip that brought news of Abraham Lincoln’s presidential victory from St. Joseph, Mo., to Sacramento, Calif., the Pony’s main route. The ride, including employees’ encounters with feuding settlers in Kansas, bison stampedes, and hostile Native Americans, is rendered in fine, thrilling detail. DeFelice debunks oft-told stories about the Pony, especially the involvement of “Wild Bill” Hickok and Buffalo Bill Cody. He peppers the narrative with details about the cost of the service (initially $5 for a letter weighing up to half an ounce), the procedure for changing horses, specifications of the riders’ mail pouches (called mochilas) and guns, even the kinds of food the riders ate. Fans of the Old West will find many delightful nuggets in this fast-moving story. Illus. (May) --Staff (Reviewed 03/19/2018) (Publishers Weekly, vol 265, issue 12, p)
  • DeFelice (American Sniper) describes how both sides of the North American continent were connected by a ten-day horseback mail delivery system prior to transcontinental railroads and telegraphs. Taking a broad contextual approach, he places the mail delivery system firmly in an America on the eve of the Civil War and the presidential election of 1860. New information is provided, garnered from local archives and museums during his own retracing of the historic route from St. Joseph, MO, and on through Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada to Sacramento, CA. There are many stories of the riders and their backgrounds, including Nick Wilson, Pony Bob Haslam, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Wild Bill Hickock. Dangerous journeys through Paiute territory during the Pyramid Lake War are told with consideration for the Paiute point of view. VERDICT This wonderfully vivid, accessible, and documented account of the Pony Express is a legendary American adventure story. Highly recommended. --Nathan Bender (Reviewed 06/01/2018) (Library Journal, vol 143, issue 10, p102)
  • Of thundering hooves and priority mail: a lively history of the short-lived but much-evoked Pony Express. As novelist and pop historian DeFelice (The Helios Conspiracy, 2012, etc.) acknowledges throughout, there's not much that we know with absolute certainty about some of the players and events in the Pony Express effort, a private enterprise for which records are not always available. The service was fast—a letter could cross half the continent in 10 days thanks to the relay system of riders and fast horses—but "the idea of speed was really the important thing" in a time when telegraph lines were going up and plans for a transcontinental railroad were being conjured. The key players were an unlikely mix of slaveholders, frontiersmen, freighters, and entrepreneurs who saw opportunity in providing a communications infrastructure to a military stretched out across a vast, sparsely settled region. But there's much more to the Pony Express than just business history, for it threads into a landscape populated by young legends-to-be like Buffalo Bill Cody and Wild Bill Hickok, whose stories DeFelice happily weaves into the narrative: Courage and stamina were desiderata, of course, but as he notes, "if gunplay figured into it, so much the better, but you didn't have to be literally wild to be celebrated. Being tenacious and undaunted in the face of myriad hardships would do." There's plenty in the memories of supposed riders like Cody to suggest truth but not much hard evidence to say that they were actually onboard, which lends a nice hazy touch to the whole legend. Soon enough—in just a couple of years—the likes of Western Union, founded by an associate of Samuel Morse, "whose greatest genius was his ability to acquire and merge the various small companies operating local lines," would put an end to the Pony Express, but for all that, it lives on in memory. Good stuff for Western history buffs, to say nothing of fans of the Post Office. (Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2018)
Biography type
contains biographical information
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10660313
Cataloging source
AZZPT
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1956-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
DeFelice, Jim
Dewey number
383.143
Illustrations
  • illustrations
  • maps
  • plates
Index
index present
LC call number
E
Literary form
non fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Pony express
  • Postal service
  • Frontier and pioneer life
  • West (U.S.)
Target audience
adult
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
the brief, legendary ride of the Pony Express
Label
West like lightning : the brief, legendary ride of the Pony Express, Jim DeFelice
Instantiates
Publication
Note
  • Maps on end caps
  • Includes bibliographic references, notes and index (pages 271-357)
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
viii, 357 pages, 16 unnumbered leaves of plates
Isbn
9780062496768
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations, maps
System control number
  • 981549769
  • (OCoLC)981549769
Label
West like lightning : the brief, legendary ride of the Pony Express, Jim DeFelice
Publication
Note
  • Maps on end caps
  • Includes bibliographic references, notes and index (pages 271-357)
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
viii, 357 pages, 16 unnumbered leaves of plates
Isbn
9780062496768
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations, maps
System control number
  • 981549769
  • (OCoLC)981549769

Library Locations

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      515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
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