Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey by Lillian Schlissel

If you are looking for a Louis L’Amour storyline, this isn’t your book. If you are looking for authentic accounts of the mid-1800s wagon trains on their journeys west and that from the perspective of the women travelers, you have come to the right place. As the title implies this is not a novel but true stories as found in the diaries of women who made this incredible expedition. What these women had to endure, how they managed (toting along numerous children and often pregnant), how they buried their young and sometimes their husbands on the trail and then stoically continued their journey, is like nothing portrayed in the movies. In our cushy little world it is hard to imagine anyone purposely putting themselves through such turmoil for any reason – but these pioneers saw things differently. To be sure the western migration was the fantasy of the men, but their women, often very begrudgingly, tagged along and gave it everything they had. This is their story and it is a good one.

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