The #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of American Sniper brings the Pony Express to life in this rich and rollicking new history"One can hear horse hooves pounding across the prairie and sense the fear and courage and excitement." Tom Clavin, author of Dodge CityOn the eve of the Civil War, three American businessmen launched an audacious plan to create a financial empire by transforming communications across the hostile territory between the nations two coasts. In the process, they created one of the most enduring icons of the American West: the Pony Express. Daring young men with colorful names like Bronco Charlie and Sawed-Off Jim galloped at speed over a vast and unforgiving landscape, etching an irresistible tale that passed into myth almost instantly. Equally an improbable success and a business disaster, the Pony Express came and went in just eighteen months, but not before uniting and captivating a nation on the brink of being torn apart. Jim DeFelices brilliantly entertaining West Like Lightning is the first major history of the Pony Express to put its birth, life, and legacy into the full context of the American story.The Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Companyor Pony Express, as it came to be knownwas part of a plan by William Russell, Alexander Majors, and William Waddell to create the next American Express, a transportation and financial juggernaut that already dominated commerce back east. All that stood in their way were almost two thousand miles of uninhabited desert, ice-capped mountains, oceanic plains roamed by Indian tribes, whitewater-choked rivers, and harsh, unsettled wilderness.The Pony used a relay system of courageous horseback riders to ferry mail halfway across a continent in just ten days. The challenges the riders faced were enormous, yet the Pony Express succeeded, delivering thousands of letters at record speed. The service instantly became the most direct means of communication between the eastern United States and its far western territories, helping to firmly connect them to the Union.Populated with cast of characters including Abraham Lincoln (news of whose electoral victory the Express delivered to California), Wild Bill Hickock, Buffalo Bill Cody (who fed the legend of the Express in his Wild West Show), and Mark Twain (who celebrated the riders in Roughing It), West Like Lightning masterfully traces the development of the Pony Express and follows it from its start in St. Joseph, Missourithe edge of the civilized worldwest to Sacramento, the capital of California, then booming from the gold rush. Jim DeFelice, who traveled the Ponys route in his research, plumbs the legends, myths, and surprising truth of the service, exploring its lasting relevance today as a symbol of American enterprise, audacity, and daring....
|Title||:||West Like Lightning: The Brief, Legendary Ride of the Pony Express|
|Number of Pages||:||368 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » West » West Like Lightning: The Brief, Legendary Ride of the Pony Express|
West Like Lightning: The Brief, Legendary Ride of the Pony Express Reviews
DON'T FORGET TO READ THE SOURCE MATERIAL AT THE END OF THE BOOK!!
To me, this story is more an historical survey of the western US around the time of the Pony Express than a complete, thorough telling of the Pony Express story per se. I understand it's impossible to tell the PE story without including all the context of what was happening in and around the area and across the US at this time. Still, I found some of the diversions from the main story a little annoying at times, i.e., a distraction ...more
A fantastic telling of an epic time. DeFelice has a huge task filtering through legends (and outright lies) while presenting truth. He does a fine job of keeping the story straight while paying a sort of homage to the legends and tales that have defined the Pony Express.
Each era has its own values, and some 19th century values would make one wince if expressed today. The topics of racism, slavery, and Indian relations are presented with due regard to historical injustices, yet without overshadow ...more
Right away, one of the most amazing facts about the legendary Pony Express is that it lasted a mere 18 or so months. And another of the most amazing facts is that it was intended to exist only a short time.
The Pony Express ran mail from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California. But it was only a demonstration for the men who started it. They really wanted a normal mail contract from the U.S. government, and the Pony, as it was called, was a way to show that they could deliver the mail.