Gr 6-10-Five thematic chapters discuss the search for the Northwest Passage, the exploration of the Louisiana Purchase territory, the mountain men and the fur trade, John C. Fremont's mapping excursions, and John Wesley Powell's surveys of the Grand Canyon. Jones opens each chapter with an explanation of why the exploration was important, followed by profiles of the men and descriptions of their journeys. John Colter, Jim Bridger, and Zebulon Pike will be familiar to most readers, while others, such as Robert Gray, Stephen Long, and Joseph Walker, are less well known. Jones is objective about her subjects, admiring their ambition, leadership, and survival skills, but also describing their weaknesses and the effects of American expansion on the Native Americans. Numerous maps of the areas and the expeditions are supplemented by reproductions of period portraits and illustrations. The chapter on Powell includes outstanding photos taken on one of his expeditions. There are also chapter notes and a separate bibliography for each explorer. The author's emphasis on each man's leadership and the details of his expeditions provides a different perspective than the standard biographical information found in collective biographies such as Patricia Calvert's Great Lives: The American Frontier (Atheneum, 1997) and Sherri Peel Taylor's Pioneers of the American West (Gale, 2002), making this book a solid choice for most collections.-Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
In the midst of the current Lewis and Clark bicentennial, young readers may get the idea that Lewis and Clark were the only early explorers of the American continent. This survey expands the discussion to include 11 other explorers, before and after the famous Corps of Discovery. Quick to point out that this is a story of white men exploring land already inhabited by Native Americans Jones is ultimately celebrating the spirit of exploration, offering an ode to "anyone who can know the dangers but face them willingly." She provides solid footnoting and an extensive time line, though many of the sources noted are older volumes from university presses and there is no guide to sources for young readers. An abundance of maps and illustrations, cartoons and portraits contributes to a handsome volume excellent for research or browsing. (introduction, note to the reader, index) (Nonfiction. 10+)