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Before the invention of the Internet, “Yahoo” was the word used to describe a not very bright, brutish male totally without class.

Imagine a group of these “yahoos” on horseback, stumbling into the unexplored wilderness, camping at night, anxious to kill buffalo, hoping to marry an Indian Princess, and you will understand the undisciplined group of young men observed and written about by America’s first successful author, Washington Irving.

Washington Irving

Washington Irving wrote of a nutty trip he took in the then uncharted Louisiana Territory, west of St. Louis, in 1832. He called his book A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES.

I was reminded of this book while visiting Washington Irving’s home, “Sunnyside.” It still stands, open to visitors after all these years, in Tarrytown, New York, close to Sleepy Hollow, where Irving’s famous headless horseman rode at night. It is a kind of shrine to his talent as the first successful United States author. The house overlooks the peaceful banks of the Hudson River in upstate New York. When Irving built his home it was in a quiet, bucolic area, just the place for meditation.


Washington Irving’s home, “Sunnyside” in Tarrytown, New York.

Unfortunately, after Irving moved into his new home, Cornelius Vanderbilt took command of the shoreline and built a smoke belching railroad line between Washington Irving’s home and the beautiful river.

Naturally, there is a gift shop for tourists like me and there I found a reprint of Washington Irving’s book A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES, a book, I subsequently learned, that is so enjoyable and popular it has never been out of print.

I packed my copy of the book to read on the plane and by the time we touched down in Los Angeles, I knew it would be a wonderful addition to the American Adventure Library series for Listen 2 Read audiobook listeners.


Then came the usual investigative process of finding the oldest and most accurate version of the book, without any of the additions or changes that editors or publishers may have made over the years. Next, of course, was my interpretation and recording process, where I tried to capture the spirit of Irving’s wild adventure. Washington Irving was a humorist at heart, so A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES is a lot of fun to listen to.


The audiobook of A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES is available wherever audiobooks are downloaded throughout the English speaking world, including:,,,,,,,,, , and your local public library through Overdrive. Or you can download it here:

If you’d like an Mp3 CD copy, you can order it on Amazon or on my website, at this link:




Stay safe! Stay well!

Andre Stojka




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