Legendary Truths
  • ISBN No. 978-1-932636-93-2 | $24.95
  • 348 Pages | Trade Paper

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Legendary Truths

Peter Lassen and His Gold Rush Trail in Fact and Fable

by Ken Johnston

Reading the history of California and the gold rush, one continually encounters historic discrepancies and contradictions, especially about the character and ability of Peter Lassen, a prominent California pioneer for whom the Lassen Trail, Lassen Peak, and Lassen Volcanic National Park were named. While prominent pioneers and military officers sought his company, advice, and guidance, others, including some disillusioned, trail-worn Argonauts and even some historians, denounced him and his achievements.
Working as a Park Ranger and historian at Lassen National Park, Ken Johnston’s curiosity was piqued and continued through twenty years of research that has led to this fascinating account of the life and legacy of Peter Lassen.


This is the result of “deep” research well presented. Readers will be bound to consider the overwhelming evidence and draw conclusions totally vindicating Peter Lassen.—Patricia and Dr. Jack Fletcher, authors of Cherokee Trail Diaries.


It has been almost fifty years since anyone published a credible biography of Peter Lassen, one of the West’s most interesting pathfinders and characters. Johnston’s reevaluation of the legends, myths, misunderstandings, and outright lies about the not-so-wily Dane is a worthy contribution to our understanding of the opening of America’s overland trails and the conquest of California.—Will Bagley, author of So Rugged And Mountainous


Ken Johnston has succeeded in finding many different extracts from the old-timers’ records and diaries…together these most important passages give us a magnificent portrait of Peter Lassen and his contemporaries…I read it like I would read a thriller. It is a book not only for history buffs—it appeals to everyone who might have just the slightest interest in the old days.—René Weybye Lassen, Denmark, four times removed great grandnephew of Peter Lassen and author of Uncle Peter


For a signed copy contact the author at: kljstn@msn.com