Undaunted Courage: The Pioneering First Mission to Explore America's Wild Frontier: The Pioneering First Mission to Explore America's Western Wilderness Paperback – 6 Oct 2003
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Ken Burns Stephen Ambrose is that rare breed: a historian with true passion for his subject. Here he takes one of the great, but also one of the most superficially considered, stories in American history and breathes fresh life into it. Lewis comes alive as we've never known him. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Stephen E. Ambrose, leading World War II historian, was the author of numerous books on history including the Number 1 bestselling BAND OF BROTHERS, D-DAY (on which SAVING PRIVATE RYAN was based) PEGASUS BRIDGE and WILD BLUE. He is founder of the Eisenhower Center and the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans. He died in 2002.
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Top Customer Reviews
My entire schooling on this subject could be fitted into one paragraph: 'America was found... some people settled there... they rebelled against English (Boston Tea Party)... Revolution... civil war... giant country'. Everything else I picked up from travelling, TV, books, films etc. And I had to start filling in the blanks.
So I opened this book interested in what happened to expand the US between the Revolution and the Civil war (which too often is taught as one event in the UK making it hard to understand). The book basically follows Captain Meriweather Lewis, a Virginian gent, who was friends with then president Jefferson. It chronicles Lewis's upbringing and education, as well as Jeffersons desire to expand the States without bloodshed. An expedition is long muted, to travel from the east up the Missouri, through Indian country (making friends on the way) and hopefully find an all water route to the Pacific.
Essentially the book breaks down into four parts; 1 the introduction and build up to leaving, 2 the outward journey, 3 the return leg, 4 what happened afterwards.
The first and final parts are exceptionally difficult to read, much of the text is quotations from letters, and it isnt the easiest to read. Written English from 1800s had no formal spelling, and is often extremely wordy and convoluted.
However, please try to work through the start and get to the actual journey. This is fantastic, it really shows insite into how Lewis and partner Clark felt, what they saw, experienced, feared etc. A superb story, and an amazing one at that.Read more ›
Moreover, Ambrose documents the "essential honesty" that distinguished Lewis and Clark from other explorers like Hernando DeSoto and Francisco Pizarro who were looking for gold or wanted to convert Indians to Christianity. Ambrose also does an excellent job of informing the reader the sad truth of American Indian Policy which at the time of the expedition was, "get out of the way or get killed."
Nevertheless, this truly special book examines Jefferson, the "empire builder,"...Lewis, the fellow Virginian with a rich family history and a passion for exploration and Clark, the professional soldier and pragmatic friend who provided valuable leadership during key moments of the trip.
Lewis, Jefferson and Clark helped the United States become a continental power stretching from sea to sea. Ultimately, the news of Lewis and Clark's return and the subsequent published journals triggered a rush for the mountains across the nation. This is a wonderful book...because the partnership of Lewis and Clark is arguably the most famous in American history. Highly recommended.
After purchasing quite a large 'plot' of land from Napoleon in 1803 through the Louisiana Purchase i.e. about a third of the USA for $15,000,000 (not a bad deal!), Thomas Jefferson commissions an expedition to chart a new trail to the Pacific coast and to explore this newly purchased territory. No mean feat as it takes the expeditionary team eighteen months to complete this mammoth undertaking as the land encompasses most of the western half of the USA.
There are epic river journeys up the Mississippi & Missouri rivers, a gruelling traverse of the Rockies and then the finale of the hair raising decent of the Columbus river until eventually these pioneers reach the Pacific...and then they come all the way back! There are Indians, grizzly bears, treacherous trails, white knuckle river rides and a host of other dangers along the way...truly an amazing journey!
This however is not just a story of a journey by a team out to chart and explore hitherto previously unknown territory. This is also a scientific journey of discovery of great importance. In this aspect, according to the author, it ranks alongside Darwin and Cook's in importance. The scientific collection and documentation involved is vast but is explained very well in the book.
Reading about this great journey was enthralling for me as it gave me an education into how the USA expanded into a two ocean country and henceforth into a superpower. This is a book really about the second birth of America, the first belongs to the Pilgrim Fathers....Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
great book so far, well written and detailed, but flows lovelyPublished 12 months ago by Mr J S Nijjar
Excellent book. Very readable and informative. If you want a good account of this epic expedition, this is THE book.Published 15 months ago by W. R. Pratt
A chance mention of Lewis & Clark's expedition across the unknown breadth of America in the early 19th century too me to this book; well written by someone who loves to not only... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Mr. Philip R. Hyne
The western half of the United States in 1800 was a vast unknown land so President Thomas Jefferson asked Meriwether Lewis to lead an expedition to find a way from the Missouri... Read morePublished on 20 July 2014 by David Rowland