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Finding the West: Explorations with Lewis and Clark (Histories of the American Frontier)
     

Finding the West: Explorations with Lewis and Clark (Histories of the American Frontier)

by James P. Ronda
 

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One of the foremost historians of Lewis and Clark, Ronda grounds Finding the West in the insights and reflections he has gleaned from some twenty years of research and writing about this pivotal era. But above all else, Ronda's book is centered on stories and storytellers. As he writes: "This is a book about many storytellers. Their words are

Overview

One of the foremost historians of Lewis and Clark, Ronda grounds Finding the West in the insights and reflections he has gleaned from some twenty years of research and writing about this pivotal era. But above all else, Ronda's book is centered on stories and storytellers. As he writes: "This is a book about many storytellers. Their words are French-Canadian, Shoshone, New Hampshire English, Hidatsa, and Chinookan." Ronda documents not only the stories that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark offered about their "road across the continent," but also the large and important stories by and about the native peoples whose trails they followed and whose lands they described in their journals and reports and on their maps.

The beginning of the nineteenth century represents a time when America passed into a headlong rush for empire and when "the West" loomed large as a dream for some and a nightmare for others, an era that irrevocably shaped the new American nation in the two hundred years that followed. Whoever the storyteller in the aftermath of that encounter—native or newcomer—the stories all soon revolved around a common theme: the coming of the winds of change.

Ronda's masterful interpretation of the young Republic's fascination with the West is written with grace, narrative sweep, and a conviction that history should, above all else, engage and inform us.

"This is a really outstanding, important work."—Professor John L. Allen, University of Wyoming

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Readers expecting yet another retelling of the journey of Lewis and Clark won't find it here. Instead of focusing on only the physical explorations undertaken by these two men, Ronda (history, Univ. of Tulsa) also takes great interest in the way these travels took place in the mind and the imagination of the nation. Many stories, both stated and implied, can be found in the journals of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and Ronda, probably the foremost historian of Lewis and Clark, reflects on many of their meanings in this insightful volume about "the West." Looming over everything is the imagination of Thomas Jefferson, who dreamed of locating a water route to the Pacific Ocean, the fabled Northwest Passage. Central to the discussion is the portfolio of maps, which sets forth both the dreams and the realities of the stories. Those who enjoy various views of the West will be richly rewarded with this solid, well-written book. Highly recommended for both academic and public libraries. Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Departing from standard scholarly accounts of Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery, Ronda (Western American history, U. of Tulsa) offers "landscape stories" interpreting the themes and question of the success/failure of their westward trek. Narratives represent the points of view of Jefferson, fur traders, the explorers, and Indians they encountered. Includes a portfolio of early maps and a Romantic art cover which tell their own stories. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780826324177
Publisher:
University of New Mexico Press
Publication date:
07/01/2001
Series:
Histories of the American Frontier Series
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
6.42(w) x 9.32(h) x 0.67(d)

Meet the Author

James P. Ronda is H. G. Barnard Professor of Western American History at the University of Tulsa and past president of the Western History Association. Ronda is the author of many books, including Lewis and Clark Among the Indians, Beyond Lewis and Clark, and Jefferson's West.

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