Tuesday, December 8, 2009
by Stephen Ambrose
A biography about the Lewis and Clark expedition.
An amazing, well-researched book that was informative but not so technical that it was difficult to read. Surprisingly, I got into this book! Ambrose wrote in a way that I felt I was with these courageous explorers as they encountered Indians - some friendly, some not - dealt with illness, mosquitoes, and bears, how they hunted for food, built canoes, rode rapids and walked miles in the snow. He was extremely thorough in his research; he spent months traveling the same trails and viewing the same sights mentioned in their journals. He does a great job of detailing the relationship between Meriwether Lewis and President Thomas Jefferson and at the end of the book included Lewis's mental illness and suicide. After the expedition, Lewis's mental illness prevented him from publishing his journals and sadly he died before doing so. Because of this, Lewis and Clark never got credit for most of their discoveries. A man named Nicholas Biddle published a book called The History of the Expedition Under the Commands of Captains Lewis and Clark, which was a narrative and paraphrase of the journals.
Awesome, awesome book. Everyone should read this. It's one of those books where you need to set time aside since it's not an easy read, but when you do put the time into it, it's really worth it.
Stephen Ambrose wrote another book called D-Day and I plan on reading that as well.
Thanks to Amos for recommending this book!
5/5 but not because I couldn't put it down, as my rating system says, but because it was both interesting to read and I learned so much.