Tall and handsome, vigorous and hot-tempered, fearless to a fault, Frederick W. Lander (1821-1862) became one of the most name-recognized Americans in the years 1854 to 1862. A top-notch railroad and wagon-road engineer in the western territories, a popular lyceum speaker, a published fiction writer and poet, an adept negotiator with Native Americans, and an agent for the Lincoln administration and the Union army, the Massachusetts native attracted newspaper coverage from coast to coast for his renown and versatility. His name evoked emotion and passion among his friends and associates, including artists, poets, explorers, engineers, soldiers, and politicians, but at his untimely death early in the Civil War, he quickly and tragically descended into anonymity.
With an energy that befits his subject, Gary L. Ecelbarger brings to life this intriguing, romantic personality of the nineteenth century, tempting the imagination to consider what Lander might have accomplished had he lived longer. Ecelbarger documents Lander’s flaws, attributes, and achievements to provide a judicious, comprehensive analysis of his actions and character, and in the process, he produces the spellbinding story of a once-forgotten hero.
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