On the Trail of Sacagawea

Overview

In 1804 Lewis and Clark and a small band of adventurers calling themselves the Corps of Discovery set off on a great journey into the unknown. Along the way they met a young Shoshone woman who would make an invaluable contribution to the expedition. With a baby strapped on her back, Sacagawea negotiated with native peoples, helped the expedition survive when food was scarce, and, ultimately, contributed to leading this small band of intruders on a trip lasting more than two years through the Indian...

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Overview

In 1804 Lewis and Clark and a small band of adventurers calling themselves the Corps of Discovery set off on a great journey into the unknown. Along the way they met a young Shoshone woman who would make an invaluable contribution to the expedition. With a baby strapped on her back, Sacagawea negotiated with native peoples, helped the expedition survive when food was scarce, and, ultimately, contributed to leading this small band of intruders on a trip lasting more than two years through the Indian land to the Pacific Ocean. One summer, Peter Lourie and his family traveled in the footsteps of Sacagawea to learn about her from the native peoples who now live along her trail. As the Louries traveled the historic route, they grew closer to American history and to understanding the woman who contributed so much to the early expansion of the United States.

Peter Lourie has explored, photographed, and written about a number of major rivers in North America. His many interests have led him to study bones with Margaret Leakey in Kenya, and to learn about Colobus monkeys in the Usembara Mountains. He lives with his family in Middlebury, Vermont.

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Editorial Reviews

Helen Rosenberg
In this handsome book, archaeologist and researcher Lourie chronicles a trip he took with his family along the path of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, beginning where Sacagawea joined the explorers and hoping to compare what exists now with what Sacagawea might have seen. The family traveled through Native American land where historic sites remain untouched and the people practice traditional customs, fishing in the streams that the explorers fished in, swimming in the same hot springs, and eventually arriving at a reconstructed Fort Clatsop, where the river meets the ocean. Throughout, Lourie intersperses his family's adventures with the history of the Corps of Discovery in a comparison that conveys the rugged beauty and harsh terrain that the explorers must have experienced. The book is illustrated with the author's striking color photographs, as well as paintings and archival photos. An epilogue offers different theories of what became of Sacagawea.
Booklist
Joann Lum
Acclaimed author/photographer Peter Lourie, known for his exceptional nonfiction books about regions in the world (e.g., Rio Grande, Yukon, Everglades), records his family's trip from the confluence of the Missouri and Knife Rivers to the Pacific Ocean the same route Sacagawea and the Corps of Discovery took in 1804. With words and exceptionally clear and detailed photographs, his comparisons of the 20th Century land and cultures to those experienced 200 years ago by Sacagawea, as well as detailed historical information, will engage readers of all ages. Among other things, his wife, two children, and Peter slept in a teepee, crossed the Lemhi pass, panned for gold, and met with native peoples who live along the trail today. Mr. Lourie has written an important book, not only chronicling Sacagawea's invaluable contribution to the Lewis and Clark expedition, but also celebrating the love between a family learning and exploring together.
Hhipfish
Children's Literature
Although the life story of Sacagawea, "bird woman," remains shrouded in mystery, we do know that she was an invaluable member of the Louis and Clark expedition. Much is known about the bravery of this remarkable Native American woman from the journals of these two men who were sent by Thomas Jefferson to explore the West. A woman was a symbol that the expedition was peaceful, and Sacajawea served for over two years as an interpreter, trader, food gatherer and geographer. The author and his family set out one summer to follow in the footsteps of the expedition, beginning at the reconstructed Fort Mandan in the Dakotas and ending at the Pacific Ocean. Although much of the scenery has changed since 1804, the family met many descendants of native tribes, including the Hidatsa, Mandan and Shoshone. The trail led them through remote areas of incredible beauty. Some remains of tepee rings and cairns, rock piles to indicate directions, still exist. History buffs and nature lovers will delight in Lourie's twist on the adventurous band. Crisp descriptions of landforms, peoples and animals make this an engaging account. Stunning photographs accompany the text, making one want to get a canoe and head West. 2001, Caroline House/Boyds Mills Press, $18.95. Ages 8 to 14. Reviewer: Laura Hummel
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-This pictorial account of a family trip following Lewis and Clark's trail from the point at which Sacagawea joined the expedition is a slip of a book in spite of its visual beauty. Its strengths are Lourie's superb color photographs and a spacious and thoughtful graphic design. Lourie hoped to learn more about Sacagawea and the Indian point of view about her and the expedition. The information resulting from these efforts is, however, sketchy and superficial. Descriptions of his experience on present-day reservations are at times uncomfortably adulatory. Allusions to the historical record can be confusing, as when the author says, "The Nez Perce might easily have wiped out the expedition-but fortunately they chose not to attack," inferring hostility. This is followed by "-the Nez Perce greeted the expedition with curiosity and generosity." Elsewhere he states that Clark's name carved into sandstone on the Yellowstone River is "the only physical evidence of the expedition." Yet there are a few of the Jefferson medallions given to Indian leaders by Lewis and Clark still in existence. Lourie's lovely photographic record of his family's journey speaks more eloquently to the nature and depth of their experience than does his writing. Thus, the book might serve as a way to engage visually oriented children, but Judith St. George's Sacagawea (Putnam, 1997) and Rhoda Blumberg's The Incredible Journey of Lewis and Clark (Morrow, 1995) are better introductions to the topic.-Nancy Collins-Warner, Neill Public Library, Pullman, WA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590782668
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2004
  • Series: Boyds Mills Exploration Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Lourie is the author of many books for young people, including Arctic Thaw: The People of the Whale in a Changing Climate and Hidden World of the Aztec. He lives in Weybridge, Vermont.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2001

    Another treasure!

    Mr. Lourie has done it again! In keeping with his other books, On the Trail of Sacajawea brings to life the story of Sacajawea and her travels with Lewis and Clark. My children loved seeing modern day views of the locations they had learned about in their social studies books, and read with great interest about Mr. Lourie's journey with his family. He has a remarkable knack for bringing history to life and weaving the facts into the story of his family trip. As always, the photos are magnificent! Well done!! Can't wait to read about the next trip!

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