Franciscan Trailblazers Review of Robert A. Kittle's Franciscan Frontiersmen.

Franciscan Frontiersmen True West Book Reviews
Franciscan Frontiersmen by Robert A. Kittle.

For many, the mention of Spanish padres evokes images of bucolic missions stretching far and wide across the Borderlands. Indeed, priests from various Catholic religious orders established these well-known religious-socio-economic centers, but they also played many other roles.

Franciscan Frontiersmen True West Book Reviews
Robert A. Kittle’s Franciscan Frontiersmen: How Three Adventurers Charted the West provides readers insight into the accomplishments of the first Franciscans in the West, including Padre Juan Crespi’s trailblazing overland coastal trek to San Francisco and the Greater Bay Area in 1769.
— Courtesy Library of Congress —

Robert A. Kittle’s Franciscan Frontiersmen: How Three Adventurers Charted the West (University of Oklahoma Press, $29.95) underscores this fact by tracing the explorations, mapmaking and chronicling of Friars Pedro Font, Juan Crespí and Francisco Garcés.

Drawing on many scattered published accounts, Kittle succinctly assembles diverse sources into a concise narrative to “come to grips with the question of whether the Franciscans should be remembered as saints or sinners.”

John P. Langellier, author of El Presidio de San Francisco.

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John Langellier

John Langellier received his PhD in military history from Kansas State University. After a 45-year career in public history, he retired in Tucson, Arizona, in 2015. He is the author of dozens of books, including Fighting for Uncle Sam: Blacks in the Frontier Army, due out in early 2016.