For those interested in the history of Westward migration, West from Salt Lake is a must read. The history of the Central Overland Trail, blazed by James Simpson in 1859, is fully recounted with meticulous research and eight detailed maps of the entire trail, greatly enhanced by Simpson’s own descriptions.
What sets this book apart from all others is the wonderful way the editor, Jesse G. Petersen, weaves the history with excerpts from the diaries of 23 travelers of the trail. Their firsthand accounts record life on the trail from trivial squabbles to death, the weather and the constant search for water. The diaries of two Pony Express riders and two soldiers further the personal accounts of the trail as it developed.