Pathmarker of the West

Allan Nevins

697 pages


February 1992


$40.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

One of the most controversial and romantic figures in American history, John C. Frémont experienced a dizzying succession of public triumphs and humiliations. He made his name exploring the West, surveying, mapping, and describing the Rockies, the Great Basin, and Oregon country. Allan Nevins gives Frémont full credit for his achievements as a topographer, soldier, and politician while noting how often his rashness attracted enemies and led to his downfall: to a court-martial for disobeying orders during the Bear Flag Rebellion, to a disastrous winter expedition in the San Juan Mountains, to his defeat as the first presidential candidate of the Republican party, to the loss of his Civil War command. Through sickness and health, poverty and wealth, his wife, the vivacious Jessie Benton Frémont, stood by him. Their enduring romance occupies much more than the background in this absorbing story of his life.

The dean of American historians, Allan Nevins won the Pulitzer Prize for his biographies of Grover Cleveland and Hamilton Fish.


"This biography merits the adjective definitive. . . . is a book at once distinguished and engaging.''—New York Times

"[Nevins] has . . . raised biography to the level of literature."—Christian Science Monitor

"If this is not Frémont, it is as near to him as anyone is likely to get."—Books

"A contribution of first-rate significance to the history of the United States in the nineteenth century."—Springfield Republican