Lewis Nordyke

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 194

["The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters" is] a top-quality tale of the trail to California's gold fields and grassy valleys in 1819. (p. 40)

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This novel is as authentic as any story any man could have told after making the trip. It is based largely on the journal of an adventurer who did make it—Dr. Joseph Middleton. In addition to this on-the-scene report, many other authentic narratives and documents contributed to the story.

Mr. Taylor … is a versatile writer. In the main, he tells this story in the first-person, out of the mouth of a 14-year-old lad, Jaimie McPheeters—but the heart of it is related in the letters and journals of Jaimie's father, Dr. Sardius McPheeters. Mr. Taylor pivots nimbly and convincingly from the words of an unusually bright lad … to those of a rather blustery, but lovable, man.

This is a tremendously exciting novel, and it has the added zest of being in sharp focus historically. Some of the incidents of violence will curl the hair of many a reader. (p. 41)

Lewis Nordyke, "Western Odyssey," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1958 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), March 16, 1958, pp. 40-1.

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