Sign-Talker: The Adventure of George Drouillard on the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Sign-Talker: The Adventure of George Drouillard on the Lewis and Clark Expedition

by James Alexander Thom
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Sign-Talker: The Adventure of George Drouillard on the Lewis and Clark Expedition by James Alexander Thom

In his extraordinary body of work, James Alexander Thom does more than bring the past to life; he makes us experience history as if we were witnessing it for the first time. Thom's new novel is an enthralling adventure with fascinating real-life characters--and a heart-grabbing narrative that casts a vivid light on a momentous chapter in American history.

Flint and Steel begins just after the Louisiana Purchase. Thomas Jefferson has sent Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to penetrate the newly acquired territory, journey up the Missouri River, cross the Rocky Mountains, and reach the glimmering sea in the far West. To survive, the two captains need an extraordinary hunter who will be able to provide the expedition with fresh game, and a sign-talker to communicate with the native tribes. They choose George Drouillard. It is Drouillard, an actual historical figure, who becomes our eyes and ears on this unforgettable odyssey.

Drouillard, a metis raised among the Shawnee, cannot fathom what drives the two men. Nor can he help but admire their ingenuity and courage as they tackle the journey into the unknown. Along the way, he watches as they shrewdly shape and discipline their force, adding French-Canadian rivermen--to guide the expedition up the Missouri--and an Indian woman, Sacagawea, who will play a crucial role in negotiations with the Western tribes.

After plunging into an unforgiving land and near madness, the triumphant achievement of two captains will be eclipsed by an overwhelming tragedy that will touch not only Meriwether Lewis and the frontier tribes but George Drouillard himself. A magnificent tale told with intelligence and insight, Flint and Steel isfull of song and suffering, humor and pathos. James Alexander Thom has created the rarest reading experience: one that entertains us even as it shows us a new vision of our nation, our past, and ourselves.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345435194
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/30/2001
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 512
Product dimensions: 4.17(w) x 6.86(h) x 1.11(d)

About the Author

James Alexander Thom was formerly a U.S. Marine, a newspaper and magazine editor, and a member of the faculty at the Indiana University Journalism School. He is the author of Follow the River, Long Knife, From Sea to Shining Sea, Panther in the Sky (for which he won the prestigious Western Writers of America Spur Award for best historical novel), The Children of First Man, and The Red Heart. He lives in the Indiana hill country near Bloomington with his wife, Dark Rain of the Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band. Dark Rain is a director of the National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Planning Council.

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Sign-Talker: The Adventure of George Drouillard on the Lewis and Clark Expedition 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is such a fine book, I can't say enough about it. I have read many non-fiction books on the L&C subject, and I was sceptical at first about this novel, but it proved to be a very engrossing and refreshing read. Thom has interwoven fact and fiction in such a skillfull manner: the fact being the Expedition (with journal quotes inserted); the fiction being the character development George Drouillard and others. The fact the Thom's wife is Shawnee has certainly helped in his development of Drouillard, which genuinely represents a Native American perspective. It is too bad that Sacagawea's contribution has been so exaggerated, and Drouillard's has been largely unnoticed in the media and text books. This book has opened my eyes to the key roll that Drouillard had in history. As Thom contends: without him, the Expedition would have likely failed. George Drouillard was truly an unsung hero, and I dedicate an eagle feather to his spirit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read many Louis & Clark books and this was one of the most interesting.
coope47 More than 1 year ago
The author researches the subject in detail and builds the story and characters with great attention to detail, respect, and antipathy. A;; his novels are well worth the read and should become classics like his epic novel 'From Sea to Shining Sea'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a really good point of view of this great adventure. It bought to light a side of Lesis and Clark I had never known. Most books of the adventure I had a hard time with, but this was good easy reading.
gke More than 1 year ago
This is a good read, but I would not rank it as Thom's best. I like all his material -- however, some more than others. I did learn some interesting information and speculation. Definitely worth the time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For any Lewis & Clark person this book is a must read. I did not want to put the book down, it holds your attention.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book and feel, after reading a couple of other books on the Discovery Journey. James Alexander Thom, took a different point of view, telling the truth on how the courage and knowledge of George P Drouillard, helped the expedition succeed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Another excellent book from Thom. The opposite viewpoint provided from the Indian perspective is a perfect balance to his other novel, From Sea to Shining Sea. This approach is somewhat similar to Panther in the Sky and Long Knives.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Exceptionally well written historical novel on George Drouillard's often understated role in the Lewis & Clark expedition. Historically very accurate interlaced with enough 'fill in' fiction to make it highly readable and difficult to put down. First real view of the opening of the west through 'Indian eyes.' One of the best of the period historical novels to date and I have read a lot of them.
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Anonymous 3 months ago
Read this after Undaunted Courage for a perspective from a grunt. Fill in some off camera scenes.