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Best known as author of The Oregon Trail, Francis Parkman is now increasingly recognized as one of the greatest nineteenth–century American historians. In Pontiac, Pioneers, La Salle and Montcalm and Wolfe, Parkman, more than anyone else, first grasped the tragic element implicit in our pioneer heritage and placed the opening up of the great North American wilderness in broad historical perspective. Handsome, brilliant, courageous, Parkman drove himself relentlessly. The result was a severe breakdown in his twenties, complicated in later years by other illnesses. This interpretative biography chronicles his triumph over these setbacks and sheds new light on the impressive histories that seem to become ever more contemporary with the passage of time.