Grey, Zane: The U. P. Trail
(researched by Anne Penarczyk)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Grey, Zane. The U.P. Trail. New York, London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1918.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
First Edition published in cloth.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
pp. [i-viii
], 408, [4] (last 3 p. blank), [1] fly leaf.
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
The book is not edited or introduced.
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
There is a frontispiece by A. Farrington Elwell.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
The physical presentation of the text is aesthetically pleasing. The typography is legible;
it is not too small, and it is spaced nicely. However, in many parts of the book, the text is printed on a slant.
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The paper is of a good quality. It is lightweight paper with a smooth and glossy surface. However, the edges of
the paper have yellowed over time.
11 Description of binding(s)
The binding of the book I examined is the original maroon cloth. The cloth is pebbled to look like leather, and it is flexible. The quality of the bookís production is good because the leaves are stitched together.
There is gold lettering on the spine, which is transcribed as: The| U.P. | TRAIL| [rule] | Zane Grey| Harpers
12 Transcription of title page
THE U.P. TRAIL| A NOVEL | BY | ZANE GREY | AUTHOR OF | ìWILDFIREî ìTHE LONE STAR RANGERî| ìDESERT GOLDî ETC.| [colophon] | HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS| NEW YORK AND LONDON
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
The U.P. Trail manuscript is in The Library of Congr
ess, Manuscript Division. It is a pencil draft, and a gift from Mrs. Grey.
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
General Notes: The copyright page says: ìPublished January, 1918 / A-Sî This is the publisherís code. There is an advertisement on p. [iv] of the preliminary pages. The copy I examined is imperfect. It is missing pp. 73-88. This section represents a entire signature which is missing from the book (signature 6). There are 26 signatures in the book, which are 16 pages or 8 leaves long. Every signature is numbered at the bottom of the page. The book I examined did not have a dust jacket. However, the image of the dust jacket did appear on first editions of the book.
There are two first editions of this book. All the previous information is based on a first edition copy of the pocket leatherette edition for the soldiers.
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
Harper & Brothers issued two first editions of The U.P. Trail. A cloth edition and a khaki pocket edition for the soldiers and sailors. The pocket edition has thin paper and is bound in flexible leatherette. *Brief history of Harper & Brothers Publishers... 1817-James and John Harper open print shop. 1962-Harper & Brothers merged with Row, Peterson, & Company to become Harper & Row. 1990-Harper & Row merges with William Collins Ltd. (U.K.) to become HarperCollins. Other editions from original publisher: Grey, Zane. The U.P. Trail. HarperCollins Publishers, Incorporated, 1991. Grey, Zane. The U.P. Trail. New York, N.Y.: HarperPaperbacks, 1991.
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1918, 1920, 1946, 1948 New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1946, 1971 (Great Western Edition, 44) London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1918, 1939 (Republished as The Roaring U.P. Trail) Transworld, 1964 (Republished as The Roaring U.P. Trail) Roslyn, N.Y.: W.J. Black, 1946 New York, Black's Readers Service Co., 1946 New York: McKinlay, Stone & Mackenzie, 19? New York: Pocket Books, 1956, 1995 New York: Pocket Books, 1984 Thorndike, Maine: Thorndike Press, 1982 (Large print edition) Old Tappen, NJ: Macmillan Library Reference, 1982 (Large type) Ashland, OR: Blackstone Audio Books, 1996 (10 sound cassettes) Mattituck, N.Y.: Amereon House, Limited 1976
6 Last date in print?
The U.P. Trail is still in print in 1998.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
751,926 hardcover editions sold from 1918-1975 Source: Hackett, Alice Payne and James Henry Burke. 80 Years of Best Sellers, 1895-1975. New York, London: R.R. Bowker Co., 1977.
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
Harper & Brothers placed ads in The Publishers Weekly. January 19, 1918: "Romance of the building of the first iron trail across the continent." April 27, 1918: "This is the story of a brave man-and of a girl. And back of it all lies the romance of the building of the Union Pacific railway-a romance beyond imaginings Cloth, $1.50 net. Khaki edition for the soldiers and sailors, $1.50 net." May 18, 1918: "Zane Grey has written the story, epic in quality, of the dreams, the dangers, the men and women who saw and helped the building of our first great trans-continental railroad. Frontispiece. Cloth, $1.50; Khaki Edition for the Soldier, Flexible Leatherette, $1.50 net"
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
A21019980219131523.jpg
11 Other promotion
The New York Times did book reviews of The U.P. Trail. The New York Times Book Review, January 20, 1918. The New York Times Book Review, March 17, 1918.
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
Audio Book: Grey, Zane. The U.P. Trail. Ashland, OR: Blackstone Audio Books, 1996 Film: The U.P. Trail (Hodkinson, 1920) 7 reels Producer, Zane Grey Pictures/Benjamin P. Hampton; Director, Jack Conway; Photographer, Harry Vallejo.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
Czech: Grey, Zane. Ocelovy or. v Praze: Ceskomoravske Podniky Tiskarske a Vydavatelske, 1928. Hungarian: Grey, Zane. Leanyrablas a vadonban; forditotta Tabori Kornel. Budapest: Nova irodalmi intezet, 1935. Spanish: Grey, Zane. El caballo de hierro. Barcelona: Editorial Juventud, 1931. Grey, Zane. El caballo de hierro. Barcelona: Editorial Juventud, 1970. Grey, Zane. El caballo de hierro. Barcelona: Editorial Juventud, 1975. Grey, Zane. El caballo de hierro. Barcelona: Editorial Juventud, 1988.
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
Grey, Zane. "The Roaring U.P. Trail." Blue Book, June 1917.
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
N/A
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Zane Grey is perhaps one of the most popular and prolific authors of Western romances. During his lifetime he sold nearly twenty million copies of his novels, and since his death in 1939 readers have bought at le
ast another twenty million (Scott). There are 105 motion picture adaptations of his novels, and he has been translated into almost every language in the world (Ronald). Before Grey died, he published forty Western romances, in addition to juveniles, col
lections of short stories, and books about his adventures as a hunter, explorer, and fisherman. Since 1939 another twenty-three of his works have been published posthumously (Scott). His idealistic tales, formulaic plots, and descriptions of nature have
clearly touched an impressive, worldwide audience.
Christened Pearl Zane Gray (he changed the spelling to "Grey"), the future author was born in Zanesville, Ohio, on January 31, 1872 to Lewis M. and Alice Josephine (Zane) Gray. His father was an Ohio backwoodsman, farmer, hunter, fisherman, preacher, and
most notably dentist. His mother traced her ancestry back to Colonel Ebenezer Zane, a Revolutionary soldier who blazed the trail "Zane's Trace" from West Virginia to Kentucky, and then later founded Zanesville in 1796. Grey spent his childhood fishing
, playing baseball, and reading novels. As a baseball recruit, Grey went to the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated with a degree in dentistry in 1896, even though he had spent most of his undergraduate career reading writers such as Stevenson,
Kipling, Poe, Hugo, Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Arnold. After graduation Grey moved to New York City to set up a dental practice and realize his dream of becoming a writer. At thirty-one, his first novel, Betty Zane (1903) was a fictional account of his
Ohio ancestors and met with little success. Despite the fact that he published the book himself, Grey gave up his dental practice and moved to Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania in 1905 with his newly wed Lina Elise Roth.
A year later, Grey met Charles Jesse ("Buffalo") Jones, and his affair with the West began. Jones convinced Grey to be his autobiographer, and the two went on an expedition to Jones' ranch in Arizona. The West and his experiences there immediately hypn
otized Grey. He chased buffalo, captured wild horses, killed mountain lions, and explored Indian ruins. Grey returned to Pennsylvania with a conviction that the Western cowboy, Indian, rustler, and gunfighter among the desert, plain, and mountains epito
mized human heroism amid untrampled nature. The Last of the Plainsmen (1908), Grey's biography of Jones, failed to find a publisher, but his first true Western fiction, The Heritage of the Desert (1910), was published by Harper & Brothers and gained imm
ediate success. Harper & Brothers published almost all of Grey's novels from thereafter. Two years later, his novel Riders of the Purple Sage was also instantly popular, and eventually sold more than a million copies (Carter).
Grey reached the height of his fame and popularity during the World War I years and the 1920's. In the ten-year period between 1915 and 1924, a Grey novel was on the best-seller list every year except one (Scott). In 1915, Grey first made the list of b
est-sellers with his novel The Lone Star Ranger, and in 1918 and 1920 he headed the list with The U.P. Trail and The Man of the Forest, respectively. By the end of the 1920's his books were no longer on the best-seller lists and his critical attention d
eclined; magazines no longer competed for the right to serialize his novels. However, for two decades after his death, Harper published Grey manuscripts claimed to have been left in his attic trunk. Boulder Dam (1963) was the last Zane Grey Western publ
ished.
Critics have labeled Grey's fiction as escapist and sentimental. Grey affirmed that he did indeed offer idealistic beliefs in the goodness of man, in the role of women as the conscious of the race, and in the benevolence of nature. He said that his nov
els speak to "the spirit, not the letter of life," which explains the apparent contradictions in his wavering attitudes towards Indians and Mormons, or his obvious attraction to the very violence he bemoans, or the sexual tension he inserts into lectures
on chastity. In essence, Grey's novels offered a vast pool of readers a romance with the West.
Zane Grey died on October 23, 1939 from a stroke at his home in Altadena, California. His wife, Mrs. Lina Elise Grey, and his three children survived him. He had two sons, Romer Zane and Loren, and a daughter Betty Zane. Grey papers and manuscripts are
in the Library of Congress and the Yale University Collection of American Literature (Carter).

Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Contemporary reviews for The UP Trail appear to be divided along one line. Most reviewers agree that the novel provides accurate and graphic descriptions of Western life. Additionally, critics agree that the nov
el's story-line, the building of the Union Pacific Railroad, is an heroic event in American history with the potential to evoke strong, national feelings. However, critics disagree as to whether or not Zane Grey has successfully retold the unforgettable
epoch in American history. Some criticize Grey for infusing a sensational and predictable love plot into his story about the building of the Union Pacific Railroad:
"The thing that may spoil the book for readers who wish to take it seriously is its employment of so much of the outworn machinery of movie romance-so much of the old business this writer has doubtless got through the habit of writing books for popula
r consumption." [A Spring Opening in Fiction]
"If only he might have expressed his big conception without tying it down to the limitations and absurdities of a melodramatic love plot!" [Affairs in Fiction]
In addition to the complaint that Grey complicates his plot with a formulaic love affair, some critics assert that Grey does not accomplish the fantastic feat of interpreting the building of the U.P. Railroad simply because his novel does not handle the m
aterial in a sophisticated manner:
"The UP Trail attempts to interpret that huge enterprise, the opening of the West through the building of the Union Pacific, which was of so great moment in our national existence. The book must be judged an attempt rather than an achievement, becaus
e the author does not succeed in fusing material and action." [Affairs in Fiction]
"He has painted his far-flung scene with much vividness and fidelity, and set upon it great action." [ A Spring Opening in Fiction]
On the flip side, other Zane Grey critics enthusiastically agree that The U.P. Trail is a remarkable record of heroism and self-sacrifice. They assent that Grey retells the story of the railroad in a gripping and fascinating manner:
"So epic was the tale he has to tell that he needed and has used a big canvas, a canvas lurid, volcanic, burnt and rent with human passions at their best and basest and human energies strained to their tensest." [The New York Times Review of Books, 20 January 1918]
He "vivid[ly] presents the problems confronting the builders, the undying courage and resolution of a small and devoted group of men, the heroic response of humble worker to the call of danger." [The New York Times Review of Books 17 March 1918]
All in all, contemporary reviews of The U.P. Trail divide themselves over the question of whether or not Zane Grey successfully retells the building of the Union Pacific Railroad. Some feel his plot is too formulaic and unnecessarily involves the reader
in a complicated, melodramatic love story. Others do not agree that Grey's contrived story-lines take away from the novel's primary subject material. They feel his novel successfully accomplishes it's goal.
Contemporary Reviews for The UP Trail:
1918 "A Spring Opening in Fiction." The Bookman, v.47. April 1918, p. 179. "Affairs in Fiction." The Nation, v.106. 11 April 1918, p.454. "New Books and Reprints." The Times Literary Supplement. 13 June 1918, p.278. Reedy's Mirror. v. 27. 26 July 1918, p. 359. "Tale of the Wild Old West." The New York World. 20 January 1918, p. 4E. "The Book of the Week." The New York Sun. 2 February 1918, p. 5. "The New Books." The Independent, v.94. 6 April 1918, p. 53. "The U.P. Trail." Boston Evening Transcript. 20 March 1918, sec II, p.8. "The U.P. Trail." The New York Times Review of Books. 20 January 1918, p.17. "The U.P. Trail." The New York Times Review of Books. 17 March 1918, p.111.
1920 Dickerson, J.S. "The U.P. Trail." Motion Picture News, v.22. 20 November 1920, p. 3993. "Grey-Hampton-Hodkinson Combine Presents Another Success." Wid's Daily, v.14. 7 November 1920, p. 21.
1922 Rhodes, Eugene Manlove. "The West That Was." The Photodramatist, v.4. September 1922, p. 11-12, 36.
*NOTE: I was unable to retrieve a copy of some of these reviews simply because the magazines or newspapers in which they were published are a bit obscure.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Contemporary reviews for The UP Trail appear to be divided along one line. Most reviewers agree that the novel provides accurate and graphic descriptions of Western life. Additionally, critics agree that the nov
el's story-line, the building of the Union Pacific Railroad, is an heroic event in American history with the potential to evoke strong, national feelings. However, critics disagree as to whether or not Zane Grey has successfully retold the unforgettable
epoch in American history. Some criticize Grey for infusing a sensational and predictable love plot into his story about the building of the Union Pacific Railroad:
"The thing that may spoil the book for readers who wish to take it seriously is its employment of so much of the outworn machinery of movie romance-so much of the old business this writer has doubtless got through the habit of writing books for popula
r consumption." [A Spring Opening in Fiction]
"If only he might have expressed his big conception without tying it down to the limitations and absurdities of a melodramatic love plot!" [Affairs in Fiction]
In addition to the complaint that Grey complicates his plot with a formulaic love affair, some critics assert that Grey does not accomplish the fantastic feat of interpreting the building of the U.P. Railroad simply because his novel does not handle the m
aterial in a sophisticated manner:
"The UP Trail attempts to interpret that huge enterprise, the opening of the West through the building of the Union Pacific, which was of so great moment in our national existence. The book must be judged an attempt rather than an achievement, becaus
e the author does not succeed in fusing material and action." [Affairs in Fiction]
"He has painted his far-flung scene with much vividness and fidelity, and set upon it great action." [ A Spring Opening in Fiction]
On the flip side, other Zane Grey critics enthusiastically agree that The U.P. Trail is a remarkable record of heroism and self-sacrifice. They assent that Grey retells the story of the railroad in a gripping and fascinating manner:
"So epic was the tale he has to tell that he needed and has used a big canvas, a canvas lurid, volcanic, burnt and rent with human passions at their best and basest and human energies strained to their tensest." [The New York Times Review of Books, 20 January 1918]
He "vivid[ly] presents the problems confronting the builders, the undying courage and resolution of a small and devoted group of men, the heroic response of humble worker to the call of danger." [The New York Times Review of Books 17 March 1918]
All in all, contemporary reviews of The U.P. Trail divide themselves over the question of whether or not Zane Grey successfully retells the building of the Union Pacific Railroad. Some feel his plot is too formulaic and unnecessarily involves the reader
in a complicated, melodramatic love story. Others do not agree that Grey's contrived story-lines take away from the novel's primary subject material. They feel his novel successfully accomplishes it's goal.
Contemporary Reviews for The UP Trail:
1918 "A Spring Opening in Fiction." The Bookman, v.47. April 1918, p. 179. "Affairs in Fiction." The Nation, v.106. 11 April 1918, p.454. "New Books and Reprints." The Times Literary Supplement. 13 June 1918, p.278. Reedy's Mirror. v. 27. 26 July 1918, p. 359. "Tale of the Wild Old West." The New York World. 20 January 1918, p. 4E. "The Book of the Week." The New York Sun. 2 February 1918, p. 5. "The New Books." The Independent, v.94. 6 April 1918, p. 53. "The U.P. Trail." Boston Evening Transcript. 20 March 1918, sec II, p.8. "The U.P. Trail." The New York Times Review of Books. 20 January 1918, p.17. "The U.P. Trail." The New York Times Review of Books. 17 March 1918, p.111.
1920 Dickerson, J.S. "The U.P. Trail." Motion Picture News, v.22. 20 November 1920, p. 3993. "Grey-Hampton-Hodkinson Combine Presents Another Success." Wid's Daily, v.14. 7 November 1920, p. 21.
1922 Rhodes, Eugene Manlove. "The West That Was." The Photodramatist, v.4. September 1922, p. 11-12, 36.
*NOTE: I was unable to retrieve a copy of some of these reviews simply because the magazines or newspapers in which they were published are a bit obscure.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
In 1918, The U.P. Trail by Zane Grey was the number one bestseller in the United States. Grey first made the list of bestsellers with his novel The Lone Star Ranger in 1915, and his popularity took off from ther
e. Grey reached the height of his fame during the World War I years, as signified by The U.P. Trail heading the bestseller list in 1918, and throughout the 1920's. In The U.P. Trail, Grey adheres to a stylistic form prototypical of most of his fiction
and most popular Western fiction as well. Specifically, the book incorporates action, romance, and a conflict of good and bad characters as it's main ingredients. Grey also employs a characteristic initiation formula of Western fiction in The U.P. Trai
l. Warren Neale, a young and innocent civil engineer from the Northeast is transformed by the catalytic Western setting and experience, and achieves ultimate success in the West. The book is a romance about the building of the trans-continental railroad
, the Union Pacific. Underlying this theme is a melodramatic love story between Neale and Allie Lee, a young woman he saves from a Sioux Indian massacre. The plot is predictive; Neale gets the railroad built and is reunited with Allie at the end of the
book. He is rewarded for his diligence by being promoted to the head of the engineer corps, and by winning Allie's hand in marriage. Thus, the characters in the novel are not complex. They are "flat" because Grey never attempts to analyze their motiva
tions or effectively convey their emotions (Etulain, Historical Development). Yet, despite this obvious weakness in his writing style, Grey was still able to touch an impressive, worldwide audience.
Most readers of The U.P. Trail agree that the novel's story line, the building of the Union Pacific Railroad, is a heroic event in American history with the potential to evoke strong, national feelings. Critics disagree as to whether or not Grey has su
ccessfully retold the unforgettable epoch in American history, but they all agree that Grey's talent rests in his portrayal of the West. The U.P. Trail is praised for it's graphic descriptions of Western life, and its overall romantic portrayal of the
West. One great fact of Western life that Grey pays particular attention to is nature. Grey's descriptions of western nature begin on the very first page of the book. For example, he describes the Nebraska plains and their "swales and billows and long
, winding lines of cottonwoods" (1). He writes how these lines of cottonwood lead "to a slow, vast heave of rising ground-Wyoming-where the herds of buffalo grazed and the wolf was lord ?on up to the bleak, black hills and into the waterless gullies and
through the rocky gorges?" (1). The book is full of similar descriptions of nature that romanticize the West and purify the individual. To Grey, contact with nature has the power to purge man of the superficiality and corruption of Eastern over-civiliz
ation. Neale experiences the restorative effects of the West and nature through his work on the Union Pacific. Grey writes, "[He] felt that he was fitting into this scene, becoming a part of it, an atom once more in the great whole" (443). Gary Topping
notes that Grey's "descriptions of boom town life and railroad construction in The U.P. Trail" are another good example of his ability to detail Western life (Topping).
Although some critics seem to dwell upon the romanticized aspects of the book, Topping sees a realistic side to The U.P. Trail as well. He points out how the book features Beauty Stranton, a whorehouse madam, as a major character and elabor
ately describes her establishment. He also states that The U.P. Trail is "remarkably daring and realistic for pre-1920 fiction." For example, Allie's breasts are bared, even if it is for medical purposes. Finally, Toppling points out that Grey success
fully integrates violence into the book's plot. He does not relish in it, as indicated by an "off-stage" Indian massacre that takes place early in the book, but he does make sure that the violence indicative of the time period is represented.
Zane Grey is known as a prolific writer of popular Western fiction. Specifically, the Western is defined as an adventure story, set in the West, with a major emphasis on action and romance. He was an outdoorsman. He was a great fisherm
an, hunter, and baseball player. Although Grey was not from the West, he did know the region from personal experience. He wrote about the Western locations he had visited, and was widely read about the area. His fiction has been labeled as escapist and
sentimental, offering idealistic beliefs in the goodness of man, in the role of women as the consciousness of the race, and in the benevolence of nature. He has said that his novels speak to "the spirit, not the letter of life," which helps to explain s
ome of the apparent contradictions in them. In The U.P. Trail, for example, he praises the Union Pacific as a "noble cause," and anxiously awaits "the development of the West," and "the making of a Western metropolis" (124). However, he also bemoans the
destruction of the West as he envisions the railroad and "[sees] many shining bands of steel across the plains and mountains, many stations and hamlets and cities, a growing and marvelous prosperity from timber, mines, farms, and in the distant end-a gut
ted West" (469).
All in all, Grey's fiction definitely provided his readers with what they wanted: a romance with the West. His books were enormously popular; in the ten-year period between 1915 and 1924, a Grey novel was on the best-seller list every
year except 1916 (Scott). Thus, the popularity of individual books like The U.P. Trail was short-lived simply because they were constantly being replaced by new Westerns. Furthermore, it is an interesting fact that while the movies made out of many of Z
ane Grey's books were themselves popular, they did not propel a resurgence of the book's popularity. In the case of The U.P. Trail, the 1920 movie version did not put the book back on the bestseller list. This trend may be explained by the fact that G
rey was at the height of his career in 1920. He was producing more books and releasing more film rights than any other author of popular Westerns in American history. Thus, while the popularity of individual books like The U.P. Trail was transient, the
genre remained popular well into the 1960's.
The Western became a conspicuous part of American popular culture during the twentieth century. Beginning in 1900 there was a revival of interest in the historical novel. Americans turned to historical fiction as one possible way to recapture a past th
at they were reluctant to lose. As a pseudo-historical genre, the Western benefited from this renewed interest (Etulain, Origins of the Western). This attachment to the past was a result of an increased interest in the West that began during the last tw
o decades of the nineteenth century. Increased industrialization as a result of the Progressive Era and Union Pacific Railroad revealed the chilling conviction that the West, a land linked with freedom, space, and opportunity was rapidly vanishing (Etula
in, Historical Development). In fact, the rise of the West was characterized by a series of contradictory drives that included subjugation versus freedom, and exploitation versus conservatism. There was a common desire to hold on to the fruits of indust
rialization without losing individual freedom. Grey sums up this attitude best when he writes in The U.P. Trail that, "Progress was great, but nature unspoiled was greater" (469). Many Americans turned to the Western genre to recapture a past that was n
ot dominated by the city, the immigrant, and the worker. They embraced Zane Grey's popular literature that represented a return to a region that was their last opportunity for democracy, individualism, and freedom. Thus, the West was an important symbo
l for Americans during the Progressive Era. The conflict between industrial and agricultural America and a resulting nostalgia for the past spawned the rise of the Western (Etulain, Origins of the Western). And, writers like Zane Grey who portrayed the
West romantically garnered a large audience.
In addition to offering a renewed vision of the West as the last frontier of American individualism, the popularity of The U.P. Trail, is due to other contemporaneous events as well. To begin with, World War I played a large role in the book's success.
Harper & Brothers, the publishers of the book, ingeniously incorporated the war into their marketing strategies. They printed two different first editions of The U.P. Trail. One cloth edition utilized the standard trade binding and thick paper that wa
s typical of the times. However, the other edition was advertised as a "khaki pocket edition for the soldiers and sailors." This edition was printed on thin paper and bound in flexible leatherette. The idea was that this edition was made especially for
the young patriots involved with the war effort. It was pocket sized so that they could carry it with them or effortlessly stick it in their duffel bags.
The U.P. Trail espouses the popular World War I idea that the devotion to a cause, and most especially the larger cause of patriotism has a purifying influence upon the individual and the country's national character (Boynton). The book came out in Jan
uary 1918, only a few days after Wilson delivered his Fourteen Point speech to Congress. Warren Neale's devotion to the completion of the Union Pacific and the resulting unification of East with West may be compared to the soldier's devotion to the Ame
rican cause in World War I. The pursuits of both the railroad engineers building the U.P. and the soldiers fighting in the world war are extremely patriotic and unifying. In The U.P. Trail, Grey describes how the completion of the railroad brought the e
ntire country together. When the rails joined and the last spike was driven, "San Francisco had arranged a monster celebration marked by the booming of cannon ? At Omaha cannons were to be fired ? Chicago was to see a great parade ? In New York a hundred
guns were to boom out ? In Philadelphia a ringing of the Liberty Bell" (463). Essentially, The U.P. Trail is a product of its time, praising all acts of patriotism, including the war effort.
Many war novels written and published around the same time as The U.P. Trail champion similar ideas regarding the purifying influence the devotion to a patriotic cause has on the individual and the national character of a country. For instance, May Sinc
lair's novel, The Tree of Heaven, was the number two best-selling novel in 1918. This novel, along with one by H.G. Wells entitled Mr. Britling Sees It Through, a bestseller in 1916 and number one bestseller in 1917, "show the first effects of the great
ordeal upon a world grown fat upon the fruits of a safe balance of powers and immunities and egotisms" (Boynton 177). Both novels end much the same way The U.P. Trail does; they invest faith in the conviction that good will come out of all the suffering
and sacrifice. For example, in The U.P. Trail, Neale is reunited with Allie and promoted to a seat of honor in the engineer corps.
Another salient characteristic of war fiction is an expressed contempt for the American policy during the early years of the war (Boynton). The general assumption was that the United States Government was insincere and timid. The U.P. Tra
il expresses a similar frustration with an insincere government that is completely removed from the project at hand through its presentation of the Credit Moblier scandal. "Expert" commissioners, not engineers, who were employed by the United States Gove
rnment, deemed the grade of five miles worth of railroad track surveyed by Neale too steep. As a result, the track was torn up, resurveyed, and re-laid. However, the new finished product had precisely the same grade and data as the track Neale surveyed.
Upon discovering the fact that government officials are dishonestly spending twice as much money as necessary, Neale is dumbfounded that "parallel to the great spirit of work ran a greedy and cunning graft" (137). Grey's presentation of the scandal pr
ofesses a disappointment with the federal government that was also characteristic of the time period. All in all, The U.P. Trail by Zane Grey is a popular Western fiction book that definitely espoused many of the convictions that were rampant during 1918. Although the book has suffered the fate of being one of Grey's numerous Westerns, t
he academy has not forgotten about Zane Grey. Numerous pieces of academic prose have been written about the popular writer long after his death in 1939. Additionally, an internet search reveals numerous pages dedicated to Grey and his books. In compari
son, The U.P. Trail's popularity was brief and transient.
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