Undaunted Courage
Undaunted Courage Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West By Ambrose, Stephen E. Book - 1997

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.

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