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River of the West dustjacket

River of the West:
The Story of the Boston Men

by Armstrong Sperry
Illustrated by Henry C. Pitz

Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1952

Winston Adventure Book

From the dustjacket:

In this rousing tale, Armstrong Sperry has caught all the drama and salty excitement of life at sea under the spread of white canvas, the whine of ropes in a gale, and the sheeting rush of water across a heaving deck. Young Robbie Haswell signed aboard the good ship Columbia for more than just a spell at sea. When he sailed from Boston in 1787, he faced the arrogance of a ruthless captain as well as the dangers of uncharted seas. For the Columbia was one of two ships outfitted by Boston merchants to sail around the Horn, take aboard furs on America's unexplored Northwest coast and trade them in Canton for spices, silks and luxuries of China.

In the telling how America's mariners discovered the "River of the West" and named it "Columbia," Armstrong Sperry spins a yarn bound to make any red-blooded teen-ager long for storm-swept seas and the dangers of dark, new lands. How Haswell tangled with the brutal captain of the Columbia, his transfer to the trim sloop Lady Washington, the wild and hazardous rounding of the Horn when the ship staggered madly through mountainous seas, make a prelude to bloodcurdling adventure with the Pacific coast's savage Indian tribes. A tribute to the men and ships that helped win a continent, RIVER OF THE WEST is a book that, once started, you won't put down until the last action-packed page!


One of America'soutstanding historical novelists for young people, Armstrong Sperry is a rare combination of imaginative artist and inspired writer. "I can't remember when I first began to scribble stories and draw pictures," says this talented author. "These two interests were bound up closely together in my earliest childhood." But draw and write Sperry did -- after two years sojourn on the South Pacific island of Bora Bora -- as author-illustrator of All Sail Set, a book often called one of the greatest sea stories since Two Years Before the Mast.

Mr. Sperry attributes his ability to give a story that special flavor of brine and salt to his upbringing within sight of the Atlantic and to the long line of sea captains who were his ancestors. Recipient of a John Newbery Medal for his outstanding contribution to children's literature, Mr. Sperry has to his credit such popular novels as Black Falcon, Danger to Windward, and Storm Canvas -- all rousing tales that reflect the interests of this unique author.

HENRY C. PITZ -- Illustrator

It is said of Henry Pitz that he has illustrated more books for boys and girls than any other contemporary artist, and his popularity is easy to understand. After serving in World War I he tucked his samples under his arm and invaded New York, collected four manuscripts to illustrate, and has been collecting them ever since. His strong bent for history makes his work for RIVER OF THE WEST particularly appealing. For many years Henry Pitz served as Director of Illustration at the Philadelphia Museum School of Art.

This page last updated Sunday, 05/02/21, by Margo Burns, margo@ogram.org
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