Journals of Lewis and Clark

Journals of Lewis and Clark

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by John Bakeless, William Clark
     
 

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Meriwether Lewis and William Clark's remarkable chronicle of their Voyage of Discovery across the pristine, uncharted wilderness of the American West occupies a unique place in American literature. To a young republic barely a dozen years old, the Journals offered not only a pathbreaking work of natural history, but the equivalent of a national poem: a

Overview

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark's remarkable chronicle of their Voyage of Discovery across the pristine, uncharted wilderness of the American West occupies a unique place in American literature. To a young republic barely a dozen years old, the Journals offered not only a pathbreaking work of natural history, but the equivalent of a national poem: a magnificent epic for an unfinished nation.

From 1804 to 1806 Captain Lewis and Captain Clark led their intrepid expeditionary crew on an 8,000-mile trek - from the mouth of the Missouri to the Pacific outlet of the Columbia River. Paddling in canoes and riding on Indian horses, the "Corps of Discovery" confronted breathtaking mountains, white-water rapids, charging buffalo. The Journals of Lewis and Clark records a natural world never before seen by white men: Edenic landscapes, mysterious native peoples, and the first descriptions of hundreds of plants and animals (coyotes, bighorns, prairie dogs, jackrabbits, kit foxes, and Ursus horribilis, the grizzly bear).

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The epic Lewis and Clark Expedition comes to life on a human scale in this engrossing abridgment of the explorers' journals. The travelers spent more than two years traveling up the Missouri, across the Rockies to the Pacific and back, and these accounts leave no doubt that it was a very hard slog. Page after page details the drudgery of paddling and hauling the boats upstream, the maddening mosquitoes and the enervating damp of the Pacific Northwest; virtually every entry includes an anxious tally of the game killed that day to feed the party. But the sober, soldierly tone of the journals often gives way to lyrical descriptions of the terrain and wildlife of the magnificent landscapes through which the expedition passed (hair-raising encounters with grizzlies are a persistent refrain). Particularly intriguing are the portraits of the Indian peoples the explorers encountered, with whom they maintained mostly friendly relations. Although burdened by the prejudices of the age, Lewis and Clark recognized the complexity of the attitudes and motivations of the Indians, who wavered between wariness of white men and eagerness to trade with them and enlist their support in the convoluted inter-tribal politics of the West. The editor's assiduous untangling of the explorers' notoriously bad spelling, punctuation and grammar, helpful notes and maps and fluent synopses of the duller stretches of the narrative make the journals accessible to a general readership. In the words of Smithsonian Institution curator emeritus Herman J. Viola, who contributes an afterword, these journals are "an American classic in the truest sense." (Dec.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
A new edition using the Thwaites text of 1904-1905. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451623577
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/01/1964
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author


Bernard DeVoto (1897-1955), winner of the Pulitzer Prize, was a renowned scholar-historian of the American West and one of the country's greatest men of letters.

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