Notas Bibliográficas

First Edition, American printing. With a folding map of the geography and a folding plan of Salt Lake City, 17 other plates and illustrations in the text. 8vo, original brown cloth gilt lettered on the spine and decorated in blind on the covers. xv, 574, [2] ads. A complete copy with some wear and restoration. The volume has been rebacked with the original spine panel laid down and new endleaves supplied, original endleaves retained in addition, the cloth used for the restoration darker than the original cloth colour, some wear and splitting to the folding map and plan, the text-block and other illustrations are all in good order. An excellent reading copy. SCARCE FIRST EDITION. Burton's account of his travels in the American west, including Salt Lake City. After stopping in New York and Washington, Burton spent three mysterious months in the South--Edward Rice, in his recent biography of Burton, hints that he may have been on a secret mission to southern leaders on the eve of the Civil War--and then reappeared in St. Joseph (at which point his narrative begins), where he caught a stagecoach for Salt Lake City. After spending some time in the Mormon city Burton proceeded on to Carson City, Sacramento, and finally San Francisco.
The first section of the book focuses on Burton’s 3 week stagecoach ride as a Prairie Traveller. He is especially interested in the Native American tribes and customs that he encounters, and recounts in great detail their character and manner, as well as such practices as scalping, totemism, and Indian sign language. During his 3 week stay amongst the Mormons, he developed a great respect for their spiritual ideals and habits. As one might expect, he was especially interested in Mormon polygamy and compared and contrasted the Mormon harems to those he had visited in Africa and the Near East. Burton writes of his interview with Brigham Young, “The Prophet is no common man, he has none of the weakness and vanity which characterize the common uncommon man.”
Though generally overlooked, this is one of Burton's best books. "The book," Rice says, "is a rare account by an experienced traveler who was alert to every detail, to language, to the nuances of a dynamic developing nation that showed high civilization on its eastern coast and progressive barbarism as one traveled westward. It is mid-century America in five hundred pages and appendixes and rarely dull" (Rice, p. 334-5).

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