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Enjoyed by millions since its first publication in 1958 The Travels Of Jaimie McPheeters is the lively story of a 13-year-old boy's adventures on a journey across America in 1849. This million-copy Pulitzer Prize-winning classic details the journey of Jaimie and his father from Kentucky to gold-rush California.


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Enjoyed by millions since its first publication in 1958 The Travels Of Jaimie McPheeters is the lively story of a 13-year-old boy's adventures on a journey across America in 1849. This million-copy Pulitzer Prize-winning classic details the journey of Jaimie and his father from Kentucky to gold-rush California.

30 review for The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters

  1. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Dr. Sardius McPheeters, is a dreamer always chasing the elusive beautiful rainbow, but never quite fully grasping it in his hands, the gambler and imbiber of strong drinks, is a capable physician in Louisville, Kentucky, his family suffers though, but his creditors want their money...The time, during California's gold rush, the '49ers from all over the world are descending to the new territory, acquired by the recent war with Mexico, saying goodbye to practical wife Melissa, who very reluctantly Dr. Sardius McPheeters, is a dreamer always chasing the elusive beautiful rainbow, but never quite fully grasping it in his hands, the gambler and imbiber of strong drinks, is a capable physician in Louisville, Kentucky, his family suffers though, but his creditors want their money...The time, during California's gold rush, the '49ers from all over the world are descending to the new territory, acquired by the recent war with Mexico, saying goodbye to practical wife Melissa, who very reluctantly gives permission, still the cholera epidemic here, encourages her to let him go, daughters Hannah, Mary stay and taking along their thirteen year old son Jaimie. The doctor is not only escaping unpaid bills, but a job he hates, tending to the sick, promising his wife , that he will soon come back a rich man, Melissa, is skeptical (they gather a small amount of money for the trip), she knows him too well... The not short journey from the city to the Mississippi River, is uneventful, there the two take a paddle wheel boat to St.Louis, but the too curious Jaimie, never reaches it, falling overboard into the muddy, cold waters, his father searches on both sides of the wide river but no trace is found, presumed dead , he writes to his wife about the sad tragedy. But the quest must go on, his wanderlust is too strong, the good doctor has his fantasies , they overpower his sense of duty, and common sense . Jaimie, survives the drop, swims in the dark, to an island on the mighty stream and at daybreak, finds a log and floats down with the current and after many miles, to the western shore, he grasped firmly, gets entangled with lazy farmers, they need a slave, leaves secretly at night, and is picked up by vicious outlaws, becomes a captive along with another, an older, teenage girl, Jennie, witnesses murders, but both escape, he again...Reaching the bustling little town of Independence, Missouri, population 1,000 , gateway to the West, the "good doctor," joyfully encounters his lost son, and regrettably the two bandits who abused Jaimie, they quickly skedaddle. Hitching up to a wagon train led by the trail boss, Buck Coulter, a sarcastic but very competent man, with no friends, but plenty of courage, the 2,000 mile journey begins, over the endless, featureless plains, these grasslands go on forever, with little rainfall, crossing shallow rivers and some not so, seeing Indians, who mostly keep out of sight, they hunt mainly for discarded items the people on the wagons throw out, to lighten the burden on the tired oxen and mules, the poor Pawnee, squeezed by more powerful tribes, from the north and south, have become scavengers, with few horses to chase the buffalo herds. And still yet the very young Jaimie, has to become the adult, to his intelligent, well educated, but perpetually irresponsible father , his reality is not the boy's or anybody else's. Deserts, lack of water and food, high snow capped mountain ranges, to climb, suspicious Mormons, unfriendly Indians, outlaws, illnesses and deaths, disastrous factions developing among the people, but the wagons must roll on, continue forward, month after month in the search for happiness, the promised land. This always interesting book , won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for 1958, well deserved.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Well, I finally finished this epic. It's three books, IMHO. The first is leaving Louieville and commencing the trip. The second everything that occurs with Jaimie and also his Dad before they get to Salt Lake City. And the third book is Salt Lake City, the journey to the gold fields and the subsequent years in San Francisco and ultimate locations for all the principals. And are there numerous CHARACTERS in this complex, brutal, jarring, and continent heaving novel! There are at least 30 character Well, I finally finished this epic. It's three books, IMHO. The first is leaving Louieville and commencing the trip. The second everything that occurs with Jaimie and also his Dad before they get to Salt Lake City. And the third book is Salt Lake City, the journey to the gold fields and the subsequent years in San Francisco and ultimate locations for all the principals. And are there numerous CHARACTERS in this complex, brutal, jarring, and continent heaving novel! There are at least 30 characters for which you find more depth and intrigue of their cores than you will for the center cut duo protagonists of a "normal" novel. Beyond the primes, there are at least 100 other under characters. Expertly drawn, they are particularly set into their places and this time. 1849 westward ho! It's written without excuse, explanation of behaviors, or kudos to most current sensibilities. The style of this is mid-20th century. No swearing whatsoever, but far less p.c. than anything I've real in this last decade. Jaimie's father, Dr. McPheeters is one of the most finely drawn men that I've read in quite a few years. His flaws, his language, his questing intellect, his inquisition for over the hill- just exquisitely framed in nearly all circumstance imaginable for these places and this time. If you are of a peaky stomach or snowflake fragility, this book is not for you. Animals have it extremely bad, that is an understatement. There are too many excellent quotes to parse here. Hundreds of wonderful dialect phrases of both delicacy and belligerence. Human nature at its most cruel and at its most vulnerable. And in situations of crosscut cultural nuance in more than a few shapes. It also taught me. Several technical procedures of mule and oxen cart transit, but even more about the reality of many of those groups so featured in 1840-60 era fare. Way beyond the gold rush groups too. For instance, the Mormon sections of great length! I had no idea of those Danites, or of the original and optimal constructions of the early Salt Lake City. Beyond that, the years and histories of those Latter Day Saints' groups meanderings from Illinois onward. Or of the specific Sioux, Crow, Snake, Blackfeet and other tribal propensities and interactions. Studied separately, not quite the same at all. This book took me thrice the time of a more norm novel for this length. Descriptions of plant life, animal movements, geographic and topography feature! Magnificent but lengthy. And the adventure of falling in the Mississippi, being kidnapped, etc. So many multiples of these. But throughout, Jaimie is Jaimie. No childish Tom Sawyer attending his own funeral here. Coulter! I'm sure John Wayne was filtering in there somewhere as I read this. True history? A version. But this west and this journey feels very real, extremely human, and fateful compelling in karma. This was Taylor's masterpiece. I'm sure this one will be on my top ten for the year 2017 for entertainment value. When it was filmed for hour episodes in 1963, Kurt Russell was Jaimie, I just read in the Intro. (I always read that last when it makes more sense to read it.) Time flies, yes it does. But I'm glad I hit this one finally now, and not back in the days when Westerns were such a commodity. And when this one was new. I would never have appreciated it by half. Also it is JAIMIE, not Jamie as spelled on this site's title. Typical quote: Mormons as a sect, you see, took a downright view of their enemies, and didn't believe in mincing words. Finishing up his talk, the elder said, speaking about disbelievers. "May they be winked at by blind people, kicked across lots by cripples, nibbled to death by young ducks, and carried to hell through the keyhole by bumblebees."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lesle

    This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of RLT, follows Jaimie and his (Dr) father who has creditors after him, he is a bit of a gambler and prone to drink. The Dr's solution is to strike it rich in the gold rush by the way of a long journey across barren mountains. plains, canyons and deserts. The wagon-train was lead by a guide book that led them through, sometimes they would get lucky and it was right on, other times though there were setbacks, that seem to be lying in wait behind the next corner. This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of RLT, follows Jaimie and his (Dr) father who has creditors after him, he is a bit of a gambler and prone to drink. The Dr's solution is to strike it rich in the gold rush by the way of a long journey across barren mountains. plains, canyons and deserts. The wagon-train was lead by a guide book that led them through, sometimes they would get lucky and it was right on, other times though there were setbacks, that seem to be lying in wait behind the next corner. Jaimie is a mischievous scamp, full of misadventures and is the storyteller along with his father's letters to Jaime's mother. Jaimie makes the whole tale fun and humorous. From the time he falls off the river boat, to a couple that want to use him for hard labor, to his run in with thieves and murderers. How he gets out of every mess..well let's say he is quick thinking. Heart-warming interaction that is contrasted by horrible times. Taylor's characters are across the board and very well detailed to the point you feel like they are alive. A very insightful story telling of how it was during the frenzy of the Gold Rush. 4.5 stars!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hana

    Jamie and his ner-do-well father grew on me and by the end I found myself unexpectedly touched when I had thought I would just be amused and diverted. What is so clever is that Jamie and his father are both (at least at the start) unreliable narrators so the reader is left to wonder in bemusement how much of the tall-tale telling reflects reality. The list of sources shows that Taylor did a tremendous amount of research, with many story lines and descriptions drawn from the diaries of actual pio Jamie and his ner-do-well father grew on me and by the end I found myself unexpectedly touched when I had thought I would just be amused and diverted. What is so clever is that Jamie and his father are both (at least at the start) unreliable narrators so the reader is left to wonder in bemusement how much of the tall-tale telling reflects reality. The list of sources shows that Taylor did a tremendous amount of research, with many story lines and descriptions drawn from the diaries of actual pioneers. This is one novel that deserved its Pulitzer Prize and it's a must for any fan of Westerns or stories of pioneer life.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Scott Axsom

    I’m still not quite sure what to make of Robert Lewis Taylor’s The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters. I found the first half of the book exasperating due to the seemingly overblown exploits of the title character. Too, I found his father’s pie-in-the-sky outlook equally vexing. However, I came to the book with an awareness of its Pulitzer and, as a result, assumed a certain degree of artifice on the author’s part. So, I was patient, and figured I just hadn't yet divined the author’s tricks. That pati I’m still not quite sure what to make of Robert Lewis Taylor’s The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters. I found the first half of the book exasperating due to the seemingly overblown exploits of the title character. Too, I found his father’s pie-in-the-sky outlook equally vexing. However, I came to the book with an awareness of its Pulitzer and, as a result, assumed a certain degree of artifice on the author’s part. So, I was patient, and figured I just hadn't yet divined the author’s tricks. That patience paid off. I found myself on the brink of giving up on the story, despite its wondrously compelling nature, because my disbelief suspension mechanism was simply worn out. And then… somewhere around the halfway point, the story began to get tighter and tighter, ultimately achieving an almost painful authenticity, and I began to fully appreciate Taylor’s intent (and the Pulitzer committee’s judgment). His characters are simply the embodiment of his allegory, and the tale, as told through Jaimie's eyes, demonstrates that the boy's worldview, for a time at least, is just as fanciful as his eccentric father's. The arc through which Jaimie's worldview transits during the course of the story represents well the one we all travel, one way or another, during our evolution from innocence to... well, that's Taylor's point. Not everyone loses their innocence. His story is about dreamers - specifically, those dreamers who followed their inchoate, heroic hopes into the West during the first half of the nineteenth century. It’s about desire and faith, and the point he makes, with surprising subtlety, is that this country was founded and expanded on the visions of such dreamers. Without them, all the pragmatists in the world would never have ventured west of Boston or New York or Philadelphia. And despite the often maddening nature of the fantastical thinker, no story at all would be possible without him. Perhaps, one of Taylor's charming, down-home characters explains it best; "He says your pa's one of them with dreams always in their heads. He says your pa's got to chase his dreams all his life. But he says it makes things kind of beautiful for backwoods folks like us. Says we must pick him up if he stumbles." Though Jaimie may have lost his innocence along the way, The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters is just as much about those who haven't. It's about all the dreamers who possess the courage to nourish our hopes. And, by the time I reached the end of Taylor's epic tale, I'd begun to grasp just what a barren existence this would be without them.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Buschhoff

    I picked up this book because its title was the same as a televison show from my childhood. What a surprise! What a good book. This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1956 and it's still a quality read today. If you like Mark Twain or Larry McMurtry sagas, this is a book for you. The author's use of a first person narrative by an adolescent boy was inspired. A writing teacher who wants to give her students examples of how a character reveals himself would be smart to look at this book. Because of th I picked up this book because its title was the same as a televison show from my childhood. What a surprise! What a good book. This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1956 and it's still a quality read today. If you like Mark Twain or Larry McMurtry sagas, this is a book for you. The author's use of a first person narrative by an adolescent boy was inspired. A writing teacher who wants to give her students examples of how a character reveals himself would be smart to look at this book. Because of this book, I am going back and looking for other prize winners that never made it to the required reading lists.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Misfit

    Imagine Twain sending Huck Finn to California via Wagon Train. What fun! But also exciting, poignant and heartbreaking at the same time. This is the story of Jaimie McPheeters and his father Sardius (a doctor), who is a bit of a gambler and prone to drink. Sardius has run afoul of his creditors and decides it's best to strike out with Jaimie to the California Gold fields to make their fortune and the adventure is on. The story is told both in the first person view of Jaimie and by Sardius via le Imagine Twain sending Huck Finn to California via Wagon Train. What fun! But also exciting, poignant and heartbreaking at the same time. This is the story of Jaimie McPheeters and his father Sardius (a doctor), who is a bit of a gambler and prone to drink. Sardius has run afoul of his creditors and decides it's best to strike out with Jaimie to the California Gold fields to make their fortune and the adventure is on. The story is told both in the first person view of Jaimie and by Sardius via letters home to his wife. Jaimie has one adventure after another -- from falling off the river boat, encounters with murderous thieves (loved how he got himself out of that one!), getting separated from the train and after being caught in a thunderstorm finally "finds" his camp again although it's really another camp he "found" (no spoilers here, you'll see that one coming a mile away). There are so many laugh out loud moments in this book one can't describe them all, but I have to say the time when Sardius tried to teach Jaimie the "dead" language of Latin was tops with me. ROFL. Jaimie's travels take you across the plains of the Midwest, the Rockies, a winter stopover with the Mormons in Salt Lake (now those were some interesting moments), across the desert and finally over the Sierra Nevadas and on into the Gold Country and burgeoning San Francisco. All in all a jolly good yarn, both for the very young and the still young at heart. Highly recommended.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    I really didn't feel the need for another novel about the Gold Rush, but I was surprised and impressed by the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of 1959. It is full of the usual hardships and pitfalls of westward travel in the 1800s: Indians, lawless villains, weather and death. Unique for this sort of tale is the humor. Jaimie McPheeters is the son of a reluctant medical doctor from Louisville, Kentucky; a man who would rather gamble and dream of great adventures. The story is told from Jaimie's 14 ye I really didn't feel the need for another novel about the Gold Rush, but I was surprised and impressed by the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of 1959. It is full of the usual hardships and pitfalls of westward travel in the 1800s: Indians, lawless villains, weather and death. Unique for this sort of tale is the humor. Jaimie McPheeters is the son of a reluctant medical doctor from Louisville, Kentucky; a man who would rather gamble and dream of great adventures. The story is told from Jaimie's 14 year old point of view interspersed with his father's bombastic letters back to his wife. Between the two voices you get a full picture of their adventures. Jaimie, in his impulsive youthful way, lands himself in trouble and danger over and over. He is a gambler with his own person. But he has no illusions about his father and as he matures he finds it ever more difficult to maintain his belief in the man. When they finally reach the gold fields they experience the disillusionment you know is coming and go through even harder times. Since they made a group of true friends during their trek, something like a community keeps Jaimie afloat as his father loses the battle with his addictions. The characters in this novel are wonderful. In the end I felt enriched for having made my way through what amounts to a reading journey. I came to see that some events in history are so vast, so varied, that it takes hundreds of stories to fully cover them.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy

    This was an entertaining read. I enjoyed it and thought the writing was pretty good. The subtle sarcastic humor was well-done and cleverly written. The characters were suitably well-developed. I didn’t think it had a really profound message. In fact, its value is almost exclusively as entertainment. I found it to be a bit unbelievable and the coincidences of characters re-emerging halfway across the country to be actually too coincidental. But it made for good storytelling. Worthy of the Pulitze This was an entertaining read. I enjoyed it and thought the writing was pretty good. The subtle sarcastic humor was well-done and cleverly written. The characters were suitably well-developed. I didn’t think it had a really profound message. In fact, its value is almost exclusively as entertainment. I found it to be a bit unbelievable and the coincidences of characters re-emerging halfway across the country to be actually too coincidental. But it made for good storytelling. Worthy of the Pulitzer? Perhaps. I’ve read worse winners. But it’s certainly not in the top tier.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anna Gabur

    This book was compared to Lonesome Dove and I blame my disappointment on this statement. While this novel does involve a long journey, all similarities end there. The style, although funny at first, grew repetitive and boring quickly. The characters were mostly cardboard flat, undergoing little to no development. Events mostly rely on unlikely coincidences and cartoon-like situations where every weak-looking man ends up being the strongest in a fight, and the like. Very disappointing, sarcastic This book was compared to Lonesome Dove and I blame my disappointment on this statement. While this novel does involve a long journey, all similarities end there. The style, although funny at first, grew repetitive and boring quickly. The characters were mostly cardboard flat, undergoing little to no development. Events mostly rely on unlikely coincidences and cartoon-like situations where every weak-looking man ends up being the strongest in a fight, and the like. Very disappointing, sarcastic writing notwithstanding.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Scheherazade

    An unexpectedly captivating story told masterfully. Enjoyed every page. Strongly recommend (it's available on Kindle too).

  12. 4 out of 5

    Realini

    The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor This Pulitzer Prize winner is perfect - when thinking about flaws, one may think of some details that at times may seem more than sufficient, regarding some diseases for instance, but even there, the masterful, genius author is as humorous as Mark Twain - the hero, Jaimie McPheeters resembles Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. The Travels is the quintessential chef d'oeuvre, seeing as it exemplifies the vital role of the glorious novel, taking The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor This Pulitzer Prize winner is perfect - when thinking about flaws, one may think of some details that at times may seem more than sufficient, regarding some diseases for instance, but even there, the masterful, genius author is as humorous as Mark Twain - the hero, Jaimie McPheeters resembles Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. The Travels is the quintessential chef d'oeuvre, seeing as it exemplifies the vital role of the glorious novel, taking the reader across America, to meet fabulous characters and some abhorrent ones, imagining himself or herself in the middle of the prairies, fast rivers, the desert and experiencing with the protagonists adventures he or she would not encounter in real life. Nonetheless, the splendid novel is based on the real journals of the Doctor who has inspired the honorable Doc Sardius McPheeters, as well as the final letter from Mexico and the author has done extensive research when he described the events of the book, the life of the Mormons and the escapades that are so numerous in this unbelievable book. Doc Sardius decides to travel to California to find gold, after he has accumulated many debts in Louisville, his medical practice cannot cover them, especially given his addiction to drink and gambling and furthermore he represents the modern Don Quixote. A complex character, with ideals and grand designs that are reflected in his exaggerated manner of talking, given to hyperbole and impossible scenarios, nevertheless appreciated by those who would become his friends and his son, Jaimie. The first leg of the trip involves a boat trip on the Mississippi, where a tragic accident takes place, a man falls into the propulsion system and dies consequently, his clothes are torn apart and hanging on the panels. Jaimie decides to recuperate the golden coins he knew the deceased has had in his pockets, but as he hangs over the remains of the coat, he falls into the river and is taken to the shore many miles from the vessel. Alas, he falls into the hands of a couple that intend to take him into slavery, he finds a narrow escape, only to meet another party of crooks lead by one criminal called John, who has kidnapped one girl of about nineteen after killing her parents in a fire. As their prisoner, the hero witnesses another double murder, as they encounter a man and his wife, traveling with their children, the killers shoot them dead without any mercy, fortunately missing the children who are driven away by the older brother that even manages to wound John with his rifle. They arrive in the next town, where the scoundrels expect to get a $ 200 reward, since Jaimie had tricked them, saying he is a runaway help hand, but when they meet the supposed employer, they find it is a trap and one of them is sentenced to hang. Reunited with his father at this stage, the McPheeters start the journey in a train with wagons, together with Jenny, a family that would become friends, Matt Kissel, his wife and four children, all lead by the guide, guard, information officer, protector called Buck Coulter. Jennie makes the mistake of selecting the wrong partner, in the first phase of the trip, although it could be argued that she needed some to care for, after the trauma of seeing her family killed. The restless Jaimie is again in trouble, as he walks off from the camp and finds himself in the middle of a Native American camp and he becomes a prisoner that is destined to be exchanged, but however suffers abuse in the meantime. As one learns from another wonderful novel, which insists mainly on the habits of the Native Americans - with more reverence in The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters - Little Big Man, the First Nations eat dogs and other unusual animals, there are a few terrifying scenes, one of which has one of the children of the tribe play with a puppy, caressing and apparently caring for it, only to set him over a fire, minutes later, to roast him, while the poor animal shots, screams and whines. Jaimie makes a friend - or at least he thinks so for a while - and given the chance, he takes the teenage girl with him, when he makes an escape, only to find on the morning of his run from the camp that the girl has betrayed him and he is a prisoner yet again. This ordeal is over when Coulter finds the hero, cuts the throat of the guard and liberates young McPheeters who can join the train and continue on to California, with a stop in Mormon territory. Some of the travelers decide to rest for the winter, especially given that Mrs. Kissel is sick and the rest are tired, but the rest of the party push through, lead by Coulter, who would be waited to return by Jenny, who is now a widow. Staying with the Mormons proves a very difficult, dangerous experience, especially after one of the radical, murderous members of a fundamentalist branch decides he has to have Jenny no matter what. This ruthless man and his cronies make threats, throw arrows, break windows and history shows that they would kill rather than abandon their absurd claim, forcing Mr. Kissel to become a Mormon and take the young woman as his second wife, in theory only and as a last resort, to save the lives of the rest of the party of friends. One night, they have to drive out of town, for there is no other alternative, they ar guided by a good, more open minded Mormon, who takes them on the trail to California, but they are followed and the villains finally catch up, a fight ensues, only Coulter and a friend of his are there to defend Jenny and their other comrades. Most of the travelers reach California, after experiencing many torments, but alas, their suffering is not over, for the gold they find is little to begin with and when they accumulate a remarkable sum, about eight thousand dollars - which would be millions today - they are swindled by the couple who had wanted to take Jaimie into slavery, on the shore of the Mississippi- the hero knows he had seen them before, but only remembers the circumstances after the catastrophic deal which had the crooks take a fortune for a supposedly rich gold mine which had nothing of the kind. The masterpiece is long, fabulous, gripping, hilarious for the most part, one of the best books you could find.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Towley

    Within a few pages of starting The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters I thought I was in for a treat. It immediately reminded me of a more humorous version of Lonesome Dove, which also won the Pulitzer and was also on a topic I didn’t think I cared about. The story was that of a father and son who left their comfortable lives in Louisville to strike it rich in the gold rush of 1849. I think we all know how the gold rush worked out for most folks, and the folks in this book were no exception. They did g Within a few pages of starting The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters I thought I was in for a treat. It immediately reminded me of a more humorous version of Lonesome Dove, which also won the Pulitzer and was also on a topic I didn’t think I cared about. The story was that of a father and son who left their comfortable lives in Louisville to strike it rich in the gold rush of 1849. I think we all know how the gold rush worked out for most folks, and the folks in this book were no exception. They did get lucky in various ways several times, but of course there was always a setback lying in wait behind the next corner. Overall this was an enjoyable read, but I could have done without all the weird racist shit. It’s written from the 1st person perspective, and I kept thinking that the protagonist was going to eventually realize that his opinions of “Indians,” and other nationalities were ridiculous, but that time did not come. There was one kind-of exception where he eventually grudgingly admitted that this one particular girl wasn’t as bad as “those Indians,” but that hardly felt like a learning moment. The book won the Pulitzer in 1958, which many will accept as an excuse for the racism. If you’re willing to accept that, or you simply don’t care about those types of over/undertones, then you may very well enjoy this book. The pacing is good, the plot is interesting, there’s plenty of character development, and the descriptions are excellent – when they’re not racist.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    Great book! I stumbled upon this book. A little bit of Lonesome Dove and Huck Finn. A great book for a young boy around 11 and up. There were some complaints about the Indians in other reviews but it really is the PC police bitching and moaning. The book is from the ignorant point of view of a 13 -14 year old boy. Hello! This might be a ignorant view point! What did the PC police expect? It was a book I couldn't put down. It dragged a little bit when they spent the winter with the Mormons in Sal Great book! I stumbled upon this book. A little bit of Lonesome Dove and Huck Finn. A great book for a young boy around 11 and up. There were some complaints about the Indians in other reviews but it really is the PC police bitching and moaning. The book is from the ignorant point of view of a 13 -14 year old boy. Hello! This might be a ignorant view point! What did the PC police expect? It was a book I couldn't put down. It dragged a little bit when they spent the winter with the Mormons in Salt Lake City. And it dragged a little bit when the father and son spent time in San Francisco. Those were the only times I skipped pages. Just a great adventure book with some sentimental parts. I would love to see this developed into a film. I know it was a developed into a TV movie but I have a feeling (I never saw the TV production) that it was probably poorly written, cast, and produced. Hopefully, someone will give it another shot.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1959. It is about a young boy and his father traveling West to California from Louisville in the mid 1800's to search for gold. It reminds me of a Huck Finn adventure. The many struggles chronicled along the way by the boy and his father are entertaining. The book was a bit long, but had a happy ending. I give this book 4 stars.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    I shall say, in a way I imagine Dr. McPheeters might have put it, a splendid book, although he would have expounded extensively on the subject!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters is a novel written by Robert Lewis Taylor that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1959 for fiction. The book is primarily about 13 year old Jaimie and his father as they journey from Louisville to the gold fields near Sacramento. The narrative is periodically broken up with letters written by the father to Jaimie's mother and the relatives who stayed behind in Kentucky. The writing is quite fluid and written in a style that is somewhat reminiscent of Life on the Mississipp The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters is a novel written by Robert Lewis Taylor that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1959 for fiction. The book is primarily about 13 year old Jaimie and his father as they journey from Louisville to the gold fields near Sacramento. The narrative is periodically broken up with letters written by the father to Jaimie's mother and the relatives who stayed behind in Kentucky. The writing is quite fluid and written in a style that is somewhat reminiscent of Life on the Mississippi albeit with more of an edge. The adventures, some graphic, include scenes with several ne'er do wells, with Pawnees, with Brigham Young in Utah and then many adventures again in California. The author is said to have spent many years researching the Oregon trail and the period during the California Gold Rush. This level of research is pretty obvious in contrast to a Zane Grey novel where the detail of the stories are often lacking. This book was written during the height of America's obsession with the Wild West. I suspect that this fact had a lot to do with Taylor winning the Pulitzer Prize. I enjoyed the book mostly because of the research the author put into the book and the relationship of the two main characters. The recurring scenes between the father, struggling with alcoholism while tending to his duties as a doctor, and Jaimie are very well drawn, convincing and heartwarming. So in summary, you can envision this book as an equal mix of Mark Twain, Zane Grey, and James Michener. I like Twain, am ok with Michener and not too fond of Zane Grey. The novel definitely has a dated feel to it which is probably not one of its strengths. I read this book as part of an ongoing journey to consume all of the Pulitzer Prize winning novels for Fiction. Some day I will get around to actually writing reviews for the other 100 or so books.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sherry (sethurner)

    I just finished a second reading of The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters, as always a little afraid that I wouldn't like it as well as I remembered. The novel begins this way: "On the day when I first learned of my father's journey, I had come back with two companions from a satisfactory afternoon in the weeds near Kay's Bell Foundry, shooting a slingshot at the new bells, which were lying out in the year and strung up on rafters." Jaimie narrates the story, and the journey is as much his as his fat I just finished a second reading of The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters, as always a little afraid that I wouldn't like it as well as I remembered. The novel begins this way: "On the day when I first learned of my father's journey, I had come back with two companions from a satisfactory afternoon in the weeds near Kay's Bell Foundry, shooting a slingshot at the new bells, which were lying out in the year and strung up on rafters." Jaimie narrates the story, and the journey is as much his as his father's. Soon enough the shooting that happens is with guns, not slingshots. This rambling odyssey of a story covers a year in the life of Jaimie and his father, who leave Louisville to escape debt and find fortune in California. The adventure of crossing the country by wagon train is filled by turns with humor and horror. The author includes an extensive bibliography of work he used for research, including many narratives of travelers on the Oregon Trail. I had the feeling that descriptions of privation, Indian attacks, experiences with the Mormons, all had their basis in the true experiences of pioneers. It is an interesting book, with likable characters, filled with history, adventure, and danger. I'm not sure I'd recommend it for young readers, not only because it runs more than 500 pages, but because of the occasional gut-wrenching violence. Travel across the prairies, mountains and deserts of America in the 1860s was not for the faint of heart. Still, I found myself impatient each day to return to the story, anxious to see what became of the wanderers, and whether or not they ever found home. I am happy I was able to revisit this fine novel.

  19. 4 out of 5

    CQM

    Where are those damned half stars when you need them? This is most definitely a three and a half stars book rather than three. It's an enjoyable, eminently readable page turner in the vein of Mark Twain. It's not a major book but I'm beginning to realise that Pulitzer Prizes don't always mean a book is important. It's the story of Jaimie McPheeters a 13 years old Louisville resident lumbered with a Father, Sardius, who dreams of opportunity and riches. Sardius is a wonderful character, a drinker Where are those damned half stars when you need them? This is most definitely a three and a half stars book rather than three. It's an enjoyable, eminently readable page turner in the vein of Mark Twain. It's not a major book but I'm beginning to realise that Pulitzer Prizes don't always mean a book is important. It's the story of Jaimie McPheeters a 13 years old Louisville resident lumbered with a Father, Sardius, who dreams of opportunity and riches. Sardius is a wonderful character, a drinker and dreamer who can only keep himself on the straight and narrow when he is on a quest for said opportunity. Indeed the journey is what keeps him going rather than the end. When Sardius is hounded by creditors he talks his wife in to letting him take Jaimie and head to California in search of gold. Along the way they form a tight group of friends and have adventures of varying interest. There are meetings with the Mormons and Brigham Young, encounters with Pawnee and Sioux and Jim Bridger among others. What strikes particularly is the casual violence. How this was a time when the west was still wild and violent death is merely a way of life. Jaimie is our narrator and his dry humour is partly, though not entirely, down to his innocence. Some will find the treatment of the native Americans a little bit offensive but I don't think there is anything here that isn't a reflection of the period in which it is set. It's occasionally touching and there was one part near the end that genuinely dampened my eye.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Containing elements that reminded me of Larry McMurtry as well as Mark Twain and Charles Dickens, this novel chronicles the journey of 13 year old Jaimie McPheeters and his father from Kentucky to California in 1849. I wanted to like this novel much more than I actually did and have vacillated between 3 and 4 stars. The subject has long interested me and the story is well told, but not as outstanding as a one might expect a Pulitzer winner to be. The only novel I can remember reading that has a Containing elements that reminded me of Larry McMurtry as well as Mark Twain and Charles Dickens, this novel chronicles the journey of 13 year old Jaimie McPheeters and his father from Kentucky to California in 1849. I wanted to like this novel much more than I actually did and have vacillated between 3 and 4 stars. The subject has long interested me and the story is well told, but not as outstanding as a one might expect a Pulitzer winner to be. The only novel I can remember reading that has a bibliography, it was obviously well researched and is a convincing narrative, but I often felt the story got bogged down with too many facts. One segment about gold mining was far too technical and I found it hard to believe an uneducated 13 year old would use words like amalgamate. The plot moved along but began to lag when the principle wagon train members decide to winter in Mormon Utah. Having said all that, I was convinced by much of the other language, particularly that used by Jaimie's father Dr. McPheeters. He was the most compelling character and was far better drawn than many others, who seemed a bit stereotypical. All in all it was a good read but not a great one.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Khris Sellin

    It took me awhile to get into this one, but I slowly came to love all the characters involved in this big old-time road trip. Young Jaimie gets roped into setting out for the California gold mines with his dad, Dr. Sardius McPheeters, from Louisville, Kentucky. Hilarity ensues, along with murder and mayhem. His father is a hopeless, hapless dreamer, naive and too trusting of others, which gets them into trouble time and time again, much to Jaimie's frustration. But he also befriends some truly g It took me awhile to get into this one, but I slowly came to love all the characters involved in this big old-time road trip. Young Jaimie gets roped into setting out for the California gold mines with his dad, Dr. Sardius McPheeters, from Louisville, Kentucky. Hilarity ensues, along with murder and mayhem. His father is a hopeless, hapless dreamer, naive and too trusting of others, which gets them into trouble time and time again, much to Jaimie's frustration. But he also befriends some truly good people along the way, and they become a makeshift family of sorts as they all search for that literal pot o' gold. Jaimie is inherently more street smart than his father but manages to get into some fixes of his own. But we see his growth and maturity in the year plus involved in this journey, while his father slips further away from reality. It's a great character study and a lesson in human nature. I didn't realize until the end of the book that the Dr. McPheeters character was based on a real person and some of the letters and diaries included in the book were actual quotes.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nomi

    This book is an old-fashioned "good yarn" with beginning, middle, and end. At one level it is a coming-of-age book for the protagonist, Jaimie; at another level it is the story of westward expansion and gold rush fever in the mid-19th century. In his introduction to this edition, John Jakes compares this book to Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove, and notes both won Pulitzers in their first years of publication. McMurtry's tale is also an "on-the-trail" story, although in that instance north-south, ra This book is an old-fashioned "good yarn" with beginning, middle, and end. At one level it is a coming-of-age book for the protagonist, Jaimie; at another level it is the story of westward expansion and gold rush fever in the mid-19th century. In his introduction to this edition, John Jakes compares this book to Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove, and notes both won Pulitzers in their first years of publication. McMurtry's tale is also an "on-the-trail" story, although in that instance north-south, rather than east-west, and is also populated by memorable characters. The heart of this book, however, is Jaimie's growth from 12 to 17, as he realizes his father, Dr. McPheeters, although learned and inspirational in some ways, has never himself grown up, and is unlikely to do so. Jaimie's is a delightful voice, and the incorporation of Dr. McPheeters' letters and journal entries help flesh out their journey. For my taste,in some areas the book could have moved faster, but overall, I found it a very enjoyable read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    When I was a kid, there was a television show with a very cute Kurt Russell playing a kid who traveled around all over the west. It was a Western, but not a traditional one. The title of the show was The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters. Little did I know the idea for the show came from a novel, and a Pulitzer winner at that! Jaimie goes with his father, Dr. Sardius McPheeters, heading west lured by the dreams of striking it rich in the gold fields of California. Leaving Louisville, Kentucky suddenly When I was a kid, there was a television show with a very cute Kurt Russell playing a kid who traveled around all over the west. It was a Western, but not a traditional one. The title of the show was The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters. Little did I know the idea for the show came from a novel, and a Pulitzer winner at that! Jaimie goes with his father, Dr. Sardius McPheeters, heading west lured by the dreams of striking it rich in the gold fields of California. Leaving Louisville, Kentucky suddenly to escape creditors, Dr. McPheeters takes his son Jaimie on a trip chasing his dreams. It is a hearty tale filled with larger than life characters and unbelievable adventures with last moment saves from utter destruction -- the fare of any western. But what sets this apart is a wonderful tongue-in-cheek humor that comes up at the most unlikely times giving a readability to a book which, otherwise, would be a true eye-roller and soon put away as not worth reading.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John Royce

    Great adventure tale, plus it's a slice of Americana ... tells the story from the point of view of a boy (Jaimie) who travels West with his father to seek fortune in the Gold Rush. The writing is imaginative with a wonderful storytelling rhythm. Colorful characters weave in and out of Jaimie's tale, which has the amusing twist of being told from a young boy's pov, even as the reader 'knows more' and can decipher the actual meaning. To me, the character most finely drawn is the father, who is a we Great adventure tale, plus it's a slice of Americana ... tells the story from the point of view of a boy (Jaimie) who travels West with his father to seek fortune in the Gold Rush. The writing is imaginative with a wonderful storytelling rhythm. Colorful characters weave in and out of Jaimie's tale, which has the amusing twist of being told from a young boy's pov, even as the reader 'knows more' and can decipher the actual meaning. To me, the character most finely drawn is the father, who is a well-meaning but scatter-minded business failure and yet a gifted doctor: a warm but infuriating character with the classic 'fatal flaws' that always keep turmoil brewing. Certain prejudices come through (mostly about native Americans) some merely for purposes of the story and others a product of the time it was written, but the good-natured narrative is given enough of a tall-tale twist to be readable today. Highly recommended for YA to adults, a favorite.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    THE TRAVELS OF JAMIE MAC PHEETERS - this book has been compared to "Lonesome Dove". That being said, I could only give 3 stars as my rating. While the story was interesting, it rambled and stumbled at times to where I had to put it down. It is about a very ambitious doctor who has wild dreams or fantasies about setting out to California with his son Jamie, to cash in on the Gold Rush". The book takes us on wild adventures with Jamie and his Dad which are Interesting but never quite held my inter THE TRAVELS OF JAMIE MAC PHEETERS - this book has been compared to "Lonesome Dove". That being said, I could only give 3 stars as my rating. While the story was interesting, it rambled and stumbled at times to where I had to put it down. It is about a very ambitious doctor who has wild dreams or fantasies about setting out to California with his son Jamie, to cash in on the Gold Rush". The book takes us on wild adventures with Jamie and his Dad which are Interesting but never quite held my interest. Maybe Lonesome Dove has set the bar so high for me that nothing has come close to it so far. It is still worth a try - you might be able to seperate the two and actually love it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Barb Bailey

    The Travels of Jamie McPheeters was a pretty ordinary westward ho book. Jamie's father, a doctor had a problem with the cards and the drink and was an extraordinary dreamer and optimist. Jamie about 13 yrs old , in the 1st half of the book got himself into and out of an inordinate amount of troubles including being captured by the Indians and being held hostage by a gang of outlaws. The book was interesting but a bit long . I found myself wanting to just skim over some chapters. Maybe I just rea The Travels of Jamie McPheeters was a pretty ordinary westward ho book. Jamie's father, a doctor had a problem with the cards and the drink and was an extraordinary dreamer and optimist. Jamie about 13 yrs old , in the 1st half of the book got himself into and out of an inordinate amount of troubles including being captured by the Indians and being held hostage by a gang of outlaws. The book was interesting but a bit long . I found myself wanting to just skim over some chapters. Maybe I just read too many other books re the gold rush and wagon trains going west, but can give this award winning book 3 stars only.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    Starting out with a considerable debt to Mark Twain, it proceeds to entertain very well, and remains in debt to Twain. I think it is forgotten these days but it won the Pultizer Prize in 1959. Not surprisingly, in that era of TV westerns this one is much like a long CBS series (Kurt Russell actually did star in a short-lived TV version). Naw, don't read it, it's out of date and doesn't illuminate history perfectly, or provide much of an insight into American thinking in the 1850s or 1950s, but i Starting out with a considerable debt to Mark Twain, it proceeds to entertain very well, and remains in debt to Twain. I think it is forgotten these days but it won the Pultizer Prize in 1959. Not surprisingly, in that era of TV westerns this one is much like a long CBS series (Kurt Russell actually did star in a short-lived TV version). Naw, don't read it, it's out of date and doesn't illuminate history perfectly, or provide much of an insight into American thinking in the 1850s or 1950s, but if you want some entertainment and you like westerns, it's well done.

  28. 5 out of 5

    KW in CT

    I read this book as part of my Pulitzer Project. It is the story of a father and son traveling west during the Gold Rush. Well written page turner in the vein of Lonesome Dove or The Way West. At turns humorous and folksy, even juvenile, and then violent and disturbing. Not my favorite genre, but hard to put down just the same. I was quite impressed by the extensive bibliography. This book was very throughly researched and much of it is based on testimonials. That aspect, I think, makes it particu I read this book as part of my Pulitzer Project. It is the story of a father and son traveling west during the Gold Rush. Well written page turner in the vein of Lonesome Dove or The Way West. At turns humorous and folksy, even juvenile, and then violent and disturbing. Not my favorite genre, but hard to put down just the same. I was quite impressed by the extensive bibliography. This book was very throughly researched and much of it is based on testimonials. That aspect, I think, makes it particularly worthwhile.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    It was really interesting to read about this time period from the perspective of historical fiction. It had a lot of humour and also a lot of hard facts. That was a hard time to live. Scary things happened with those indians! I think that the author did a great job giving the feel of both good and bad that happened. I found myself missing those characters after I was done reading and wanting to go through more stories with them.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I really enjoyed this book. When the book first turned violent I was shocked. When I picked it up, I thought the book was going to be this fun little jaunt across the west with lots of saucy jokes and crazy mishaps. Every time something brutal happened it was jarring, but I think in the end those scenes are part of what makes the book great.

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