Undaunted Courage

Undaunted Courage

Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West

Book - 1997
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Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 1997, c1996
ISBN: 9780684826974
Characteristics: 521 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm


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Jun 21, 2017

This is one of my favorite books of all. I was fascinated how Thomas Jefferson gave a band of men a mission to go out into the vast unknown and explore this vast nation. Not knowing what was over the next hill for thousands of miles and returning with many indian tribes along the way. Several which could have killed them easily but to me it was a miracle all but one returned from this trip.
Great, great read. If you like American History you will love this book and how this nation came to be. I cannot express enough what an enjoy this book was for me.

Dec 15, 2015

This book fascinated me. Ambrose is such a great storyteller and the story is itself is already remarkable.

What I liked was how much detail there was and still interesting.

The book gave me another look at Thomas Jefferson too. Now I want to know more about Clark. This book focuses mostly on Lewis.

Jun 25, 2015

If you grew up in Oregon or if you're a transplant, you're familiar with Lewis & Clark, the men who were tasked by Jefferson to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase. Popular historian Stephen Ambrose tells their remarkable story in this detailed account. Ambrose, who has written frequently about World War 2 ("Band of Brothers," "D-Day") takes a rah-rah view of history and is more interested in the adventure side of the story than understanding the greater context or meaning of their journey. As such, the reader may feel that he glosses over the negative aspects of the "opening of the American West," especially if you were Native American. Native guide Sacagawea and Clark's African-American slave, York, remain ciphers. There's no denying the excitement of the story and the significance of their achievement, but Ambrose is an overly enthusiastic writer, who has a weakness for calling passages from journals or letters "famous" or "celebrated," although you've never heard of them. The aftermath of the expedition was bitter sweet, as Lewis, who may have been depressive, struggled with drink and money and ended up shooting himself. Required reading for Oregonians. "A Wilderness So Immense" is a more in depth look at the Louisiana Purchase, while the classic "Bury My Heart of Wounded Knee" gives the Native American side of the story.

Apr 20, 2014

I agree with others that the book can be dry at times. It is historical, and takes no license with facts.
However, its about one of the most fantastic journeys ever taken... and it is real.

Oct 19, 2012

Boring??? Offensive??? It is neither.

dulynoted Mar 19, 2012

I found most of the book to be a bit dry for my taste. I was interested in a stronger narrative of the adventure, and instead the book dedicated a lot of space to describing Lewis' descriptions of flora and fauna. Not my cup of tea.

Jun 20, 2011

From background on Lewis' budding career as a young army officer to commission & co-command of the U.S. corps of discovery's historic expedition of what would become the United States. This book is filled with details on life in early 19th century North America, & the many challenges encountered by the people of the time.

Actual excerpts from letters of correspondence, journal entrees, coupled with vivid details of day to day living makes this title a lively read.

The shaping of the early United States, it's struggles, perils, defeats & triumphs are all illustrated in this finely written work by Mr. Stephen Ambrose.

One detail about this book that I enjoyed were the journal entrees.
Frequent misspelled words, sometimes the same word is spelled differently in the same paragraph. It gives a real sense of the era & education levels even amongst the privately educated.
Even President Thomas Jefferson misspelled words in his letters to Cpt. Lewis.

The focus is primarily on Cpt. Lewis before, during, & after the corps of discovery, but there's enough detail on co-captain (never official) W. Clark and the others to keep things interesting & balanced.

Overall, this title is well worth reading, especially if you have an affinity for history.


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