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History Department

John Bidwell and California

The Life and Writings of a Pioneer 1841 – 1900 (2003)

"Defying all odds, Gillis and Magliari have established that academics can indeed write history in a readable way. They put together a wonderfully intelligent--sometimes downright thrilling--narrative at the beginning of each section. Then they amplify it all with Bidwell's own writings....the initial printing of this book sold out within weeks of its arrival. A second printing is now selling briskly."

Gregory Franzwa
Former president of the Oregon-California Trails Association
Review in the May 2003 issue of Folio

"Gillis and Magliari...invested eight years of intensive and extensive research to present a more balanced view of John Bidwell, his accomplishments, and his failures. The result is clearly the definitive account of a complex man....This is not a revisionist account, but a thorough analysis and presentation of the historical record. Controversial issues...are explored and presented in an even-handed manner. Interesting facts abound throughout....The sixteen-page bibliography, a boon to future researchers and historians, stands as a testament to the research that has gone into this book. _John Bidwell and California_ is highly-informative and a great pleasure to read; it is well-written, with no wasted words and without the verbosity found in some scholarly works. A few words (such as hagiography and kulturkampf) may give pause or have the reader reaching for the dictionary, but they are a rarity. Enjoy!"

Andrew Hammond
Review in Spring 2003 issue of Overland Journal