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Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West School & Library Binding – 1 Oct 1999
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|School & Library Binding, 1 Oct 1999||
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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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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. I was facinated, and didnt want to put the book down. I always wanted to see what was around the next bend in the river, whether the next nation of Indians would welcome them, whether all would survive.
Apart from difficulty with some of the language (might be helpful having a thesaurus and or dictionary handy), the one thing which really spoilt this was the lack of information after the expedition. It is more focused on the downfall of Lewis and the fate of his journals.
It would be brilliant to have another chapter giving brief details of the American - Indian relations in the following ten-fifteen years, and whether any of Lewis's suggestions and policies on the subject ever came into play or ever worked.
Otherwise, a very interesting book from Mr Ambrose to add to Band of Brothers as a most memorable read from him.
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