Or Perish in the Attempt: Wilderness Medicine in the Lewis and Clark Expeditonby David J. Peck
An urgent-care physician with a passion for the Lewis and Clark Expedition describes its medical aspects. The two captains had to act as doctors for their own men, Sacagawea and baby Pomp, and also treated many Indian nations met along the way. But they used the primitive medicines and theories of 1803, which often called for doing just what shouldn't be done, or
An urgent-care physician with a passion for the Lewis and Clark Expedition describes its medical aspects. The two captains had to act as doctors for their own men, Sacagawea and baby Pomp, and also treated many Indian nations met along the way. But they used the primitive medicines and theories of 1803, which often called for doing just what shouldn't be done, or what had no effect. Dr. Peck describes the trip from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean and back, emphasizing the illnesses and accidents, and how the captains dealt with frostbite, severe cuts, appendicitis, venereal disease, pelvic inflammatory disease, mental illness, parasites, skin infections, snowblindness, gunshot wound, dislocated joints, muscle spasm, and more. Anecdotes from his own practice enrich the information he gathered from current medical publications. He also presents medical and anecdotal evidence supporting the theory that Meriwether Lewis died from suicide rather than murder.
- Farcountry Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.04(w) x 9.18(h) x 1.03(d)
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The story of Lewis and Clark is fascinating ¿ one of the original legendary American expeditions with extraordinary implications. The historical record and the many books available to us that interpret this journey into the unknown let us relive the excitement of exploration of the American frontier. However, until Or Perish in the Attempt by Dr. David Peck was written and published, only half of the legendary story of Lewis and Clark has been told. Now you can experience the ¿rest of the story¿ through the eyes of an articulate, practicing modern physician who unveils the medical threat that the Corps of Discovery was under during the few years it took them to get to the Pacific northwest and back. Dr. Peck sets the foundation by first explaining the prevailing medical philosophy of the times by leading physicians, including Dr. B. Rush ¿ a leading advocate of blood letting. Then, we follow Lewis as he gets his guidance in person from Dr. Rush for the perceived medical threat and heads off up the Missouri with Clark and all their men, materials and supplies into the heart of darkness. While the Corps of Discovery went about their business meeting their basic survival and occasional life enhancement needs, Dr. Peck takes the story to a much deeper and scarier level. While Lewis and Clark and their men worried about Indians, snakes, bears around the bend, the medical threat loomed all around them in the form of mosquitoes carrying deadly malaria and all sorts of bugs and germs that the men ingested from drinking river water and eating inordinate amounts of meat from all kinds of critters that were available to them for life sustaining food. Dr. Peck shows that these guys were very rough and tough. However, they got sick and were often very sick along the way and didn¿t have an emergency room to run to for help. Everyone turned to Lewis for help as he handed out the Thunder Clappers and other drugs from his supplies. Dr. Peck takes these complex ideas and concepts from the medical world and breaks them down so we can understand them thoroughly. In so doing, the story of Lewis and Clark becomes more real than ever before. As a result, the reader comes away with a serious education about health care and the awesome power of the human body to heal itself ¿ if things are done correct. The ending of Or Perish in the Attempt was the high point of the book because Dr. Peck clearly shows why Lewis died shortly after returning from the expedition. That explanation alone is worth the price of admission. So, if you want to take a ride, then get in line for your E-Ticket on the Or Perish in the Attempt roller coaster ride by Dr. David Peck. This is a must read for anyone who thinks they already know the story of Lewis and Clark or for anyone who might think they know how to take care of themselves in the wilderness or their own backyard.
This book gives a great overview of the Lewis & Clark expedition and focuses in on the medical aspects. It starts with the medical preparations of Meriwether Lewis for the expedition and discusses how medicine was practiced during this time period. Dr. Peck then gives a very entertaining and educational narration of the expedition with focus on the physical and medical aspects. He manages to make you feel what it must have been like to be on the expedition, with all its joys and hardships. He finishes with a discussion of the death of Meriwether Lewis. It is a very readable book with a candid and refreshing viewpoint, and comes from the perspective of an author who is very familiar with life in the outdoors, as well as being a physician. While many history books read like a dull college lecture, this book is more like hearing the story told while sitting around a campfire in Montana. It is a great book for the Lewis & Clark beginner, as well as an essential reference for those interested in the medical details of the Lewis & Clark expedition.
I truly enjoyed this book! It was funny, educational, and very compelling. This topic has not been covered well and Dr. Peck's narrative is flowing and his enthusiasm is apparent in his writing. Lewis's suicide is covered in detail, the hardships and struggles of the Corps are emphasized along with the medicine of the era and a very understandable explanation of the various diseases that may have been encountered. It is well researched, well footnoted with an extensive index and a foreword from a nationally known Lewis and Clark person (Moira Ambrose) and illustrations too. As one of the support statements on the back states, 'One of the best reads of the bicentennial'
This book is educational, engaging, a great read and humorous. The narrative flows and I had a hard time putting it down and felt like I'd been on the trip myself by the end of the book. Peck goes into aspects of the trip and Lewis's suicide more than any other book on the subject. I highly recommend this read for anyone.