Lewis and Clark: Voices from the Trail

Lewis and Clark: Voices from the Trail

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by Michael Kerrigan
     
 

When Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led their Corps of Discovery up the Missouri River from ST. Louis in the spring of 1804, they were pushing westward into uncharted territory. This stunningly illustrated book tells the story of their remarkable expedition in the words of the explorers themselves—an epic adventure related with unsurpassed excitement and… See more details below

Overview

When Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led their Corps of Discovery up the Missouri River from ST. Louis in the spring of 1804, they were pushing westward into uncharted territory. This stunningly illustrated book tells the story of their remarkable expedition in the words of the explorers themselves—an epic adventure related with unsurpassed excitement and immediacy—brought vividly to life with newly commissioned photography of the dramatic scenery that greeted them en route.

Lewis and Clark were to begin mapping the vast tract of wilderness the United States had just acquired under the terms of the Louisiana Purchase. Most importantly, they were to ascertain whether a means might be found for shipping freight upriver and over the Western mountains to the coast beyond. A viable way through to the Pacific would open up America to the Asian Trade.

They never did find their Northwest Passage, but they did make the crossing to the coast, revealing some of the most magnificent country any traveler had ever seen. Through deep forest, they made their meandering way along one of the world's greatest rivers; they traversed endless plains with herds of bison to the far horizon. Approaching the Missouri headwaters, they made arduous portages past thundering waterfalls and braved mountains lashed by snow and wind.

Each night on the trail, beside the campfire, Lewis and Clark recorded the events and discoveries of the day in the extraordinary journals that have become an incomparable landmark in the literature of exploration. They are also a classic text of natural history, providing the first accounts of some of our most fascinating plants and animals. Perhaps most moving is their portrait of Native Americans, for the explorers served also as diplomats on behalf of t heir president, Thomas Jefferson. The Lakota Sioux, Hidatsa, Arikara, Shoshone, Nez Perce, Chinook, and —tragically—the Blackfeet: these were just a few of the peoples with whom the Corps of Discovery established contact.

What strikes the reader most about the Journals now is their engaging warmth and human interest, the vividness with which their historic characters lie today. Not just Lewis and Clark themselves, but the African-American slave, York, the Shoshone guide, Sacagawea, and her baby son—not to mention the dog, Seaman—all legendary figures now, they emerge here as individuals.

Published to mark the bicentennial of one of the greatest journeys of exploration ever undertaken, this extraordinary volume celebrates the spirit that opened up a continent. It is a true-life tale of national destiny, of a journey of discovery that showed a new republic to itself; the vast land it was, the great nation it could one day become.

Michael Kerrigan has written widely on history and literature, including titles on the history of U.S. institutions like the National Guard and the Border Patrol and on the role of the rescue agencies in the aftermath of 9/11. He reviews regularly for literary journals and has contributed to such reference works as the . Educated at the University of Oxford, England, and with more than twenty years of research and writing, Kerrigan brings a broad perspective to the saga of the most significant exploratory endeavor in North American history.

Acclaimed photographer Rudi Holnsteiner specializes in documenting American's awesome scenic and natural landmarks. His work has appeared in more than twenty-five books as well as in a number of leading magazines and national newspapers. This collection is the result of a three-year project undertaken with his wife, Marilyn Holnsteiner, who researched the route of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in meticulous detail prior to their retracing the explorers' steps with the camera.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780760753149
Publisher:
Sterling Publishing
Publication date:
04/07/2004
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
9.12(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.93(d)

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