THE TRAIL OF THE SILVER HORSESHOES
Stories of the American West
By Jiri Cernik
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This collection of stories describes events or episodes in the life of a varied group of individuals during the most dramatic period of American history—the settlement of the American West. The reader will witness the hardship and suffering of the Donner-Reed Party; the heroism of Portugee Phillips, the messenger bringing news of the Fetterman Massacre; the tragic events connected to Major John W. Powell's exploration of the Grand Canyon; and the disastrous effort of the Minnesota Sioux to drive the white interlopers from their traditional hunting grounds. There is a glimpse of the rough and tumble life in the gold rush towns of Alaska and Colorado, a failed attempt at a robbery of a bank in Northfield, Minnesota, and the violent death of Jack Slade, a former manager of a stage coach station in Julesburg, Colorado, mentioned in Mark Twain's book, Roughing It. Historical notes at the end of the tales provide the reader with actual facts and broader context in which these events took place.
Jiri Cernik was born in Jicin, Czechoslovakia and immigrated to the United States in 1967 where he earned an MA in German language and literature at George Washington University. He has worked at the Foreign Service Institute, Educational Bureau of the U.S. Department of State as the Language Training Supervisor of Czech, Slovak, Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Hungarian and Greek sections. In addition to his work in the field of linguistics and language pedagogy he has pursued his interest in American history, particularly the settlement of the American West. He has traveled extensively throughout all states west of the Mississippi and is the author of several novels, stories and non-fiction works dealing with this area and people who settled it. Two, published in the Czech Republic, are The Wild West and With a Tomahawk Against the Muskets, a two-volume detailed history of the Indian Wars covering the time period 1621–1890. He is retired and lives with his wife in Needmore, Pennsylvania where for many years they have raised and showed Morgan horses.
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