The Journals of Lewis and Clark

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Overview

In 1803, when the United States purchased Louisiana from France, the great expanse of this new American territory was a blank - not only on the map but in our knowledge. President Thomas Jefferson keenly understood that the course of the nation's destiny lay westward and that a national "Voyage of Discovery" must be mounted to determine the nature and accessibility of the frontier. He commissioned his young secretary, Meriwether Lewis, to lead an intelligence-gathering expedition from the Missouri River to the ...
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Journals of Lewis and Clark

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Overview

In 1803, when the United States purchased Louisiana from France, the great expanse of this new American territory was a blank - not only on the map but in our knowledge. President Thomas Jefferson keenly understood that the course of the nation's destiny lay westward and that a national "Voyage of Discovery" must be mounted to determine the nature and accessibility of the frontier. He commissioned his young secretary, Meriwether Lewis, to lead an intelligence-gathering expedition from the Missouri River to the northern Pacific coast and back. From 1804 to 1806, Lewis, accompanied by co-captain William Clark, the Shoshone guide Sacajawea, and thirty-two men, made the first trek across the Louisiana Purchase, mapping the rivers as he went, tracing the principal waterways to the sea, and establishing the American claim to the territories of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Together the captains kept a journal, a richly detailed record of the flora and fauna they sighted, the Indian tribes they encountered, and the awe-inspiring landscape they traversed, from their base camp near present-day St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia River. In keeping this record they made an incomparable contribution to the literature of exploration and the writing of natural history.

The 1804-06 exploration of the Louisiana Purchase, which broke ground for America's westward expansion.

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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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781613824887
  • Publisher: Simon & Brown
  • Publication date: 4/10/2013
  • Pages: 1196
  • Sales rank: 1,296,566
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 2.34 (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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 29 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2003

    The Real Adventure

    If you want to be entertained while being educated....READ THIS BOOK!! I highly recommend this for every adult. If you have a student in the home that is not interested in history or does not understand the value of learning history, this is a perfect way to get them interested. Truly one of the most exciting true adventure's of all time.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2003

    Reads like an Adventure Novel

    I tried reading the journals in their original form, but it was rough going--this version with modernized spelling and eloquent summaries between the passages not included make reading about their great expedition fun. I got my son hooked on it too--a wonderful introduction to this phase of American history. Grizzly bears, encounters with native Americans, hunting for food, Sacagawea and her baby--it's all there. If Lewis & Clark interest you at all, this version is the one to read now. Certain to be the classic abridgment.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2006

    Great read!

    Boring in some spots, but very good and highly entertaining. The writings of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, with most of the boring stuff edited out. Of their first encounter with Grizzlies after being told how ferocious they are(by the Indians). New lands and creatures. I always thought that I would have gone on this adventure in 1804. After reading the journals, I see I probably would have complained so much, as to get the boot. Deserters and heroes, facing difficult situations. A true adventure story in every sense.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2009

    Great reading

    This book was very compelling. It was hard to put down. I have passed it on to my grandsons who are in high school for collatgeral reading in their history class.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2006

    fantastic

    These Journals are the most beautiful and realistic accounts in history i have ever read. DeVoto on the other hand does cut in quite a bit more than he should in my opinion.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2003

    Meriwether Lewis

    lewis is a cool dude, he explored the lousina purchase with help from captain clark; 1804-1806. I rate The Journals of Lewis and Clark 5 stars or outstanding. Great book!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2001

    The Definitive Abridged Work on the L&C Expedition

    As a historical researcher, I find Mr. Bergon's book a necessity in locating information, whether it be on native tribes, expedition equipment, plant's and animal specimens, and so on. By far, the best abridged edition on the market and a necessity for the new L&C buff or long time enthusiast. A real gem since it includes the expedition's summary of equipment purchases.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2014

    Dont read

    Boooooooooo

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2014

    Wow

    This book helped me a lot on a report that i had to do on Leis and Clark. In just the sample i was able to finish my essay. Highly reccomended book for people who would like to learn about the Lewis and Clark!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2013

    Im realateed I m realated

    Well i have not read the book yet but i hope its grate i need some thing that rimems with 1804...

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2013

    Juist learning about lewis and clark

    :)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    Iwas doing a report and this was my best resource

    THIS is SUPER helpful GET this BOOK!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Awsome

    This book is amazing! It talkes about them alot and you can learn alot about there trip. Please read this book to learn about them. And there trip especially if you are learning about them in school.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2012

    A slow reading

    There is too much detail in them describing their trip. Moves very slowly.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2012

    Recommend to history buffs

    Slow reading. Lots of repetitiveness. Publisher should have checked this. I have read other copies of the journals and they were better

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2012

    Awesome

    I thought a good book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews

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