The Lewis and Clark Journals

The Lewis and Clark Journals

An American Epic of Discovery : the Abridgment of the Definitive Nebraska Edition

Book - 2003
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Baker & Taylor
The diaries and personal accounts of William Clark, Meriwether Lewis, and other members of the expedition chronicle their epic journey across North America in search of a river passage to the Pacific Ocean.

Univ of Nebraska
Following orders from President Thomas Jefferson, Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out from their wintering camp in Illinois in 1804 to search for a river passage to the Pacific Ocean. In this riveting account, editor Gary E. Moulton blends the narrative highlights of the Lewis and Clark journals so that the voices of the enlisted men and of Native peoples are heard alongside the words of the captains.
All their triumphs and terrors are here—the thrill of seeing the vast herds of bison on the plains; the tensions and admiration in the first meetings with Indian peoples; Lewis's rapture at the stunning beauty of the Great Falls; the fear the captains felt when a devastating illness befell their Shoshone interpreter, Sacagawea; the ordeal of crossing the Continental Divide; the kidnapping and rescuing of Lewis’s dog, Seaman; miserable days of cold and hunger; and Clark's joy at seeing the Pacific. The cultural differences between the corps and Native Americans make for living drama that at times provokes laughter but more often is poignant and, at least once, tragic.

& Taylor

The diaries and personal accounts of William Clark, Meriwether Lewis, and other members of their expedition chronicle their epic journey across North America in search of a river passage to the Pacific Ocean and describe their encounters with the Native American peoples of the West, exotic flora and fauna, and amazing natural wonders.

Publisher: Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, [2003]
Copyright Date: ©2003
ISBN: 9780803229501
Branch Call Number: 917.8042 Lewis 2003
Characteristics: lviii, 413 pages : illustrations, maps ; 27 cm


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Oct 03, 2017

What an adventure this was! More than 2 years away from home, walking, riding, and canoeing from St. Louis to near the mouth of the Columbia, without formal maps (let alone GPS), Goretex, plastic, modern medicine, etc, etc. And everyone including Sacagawea's baby, born during the expedition, came home alive (except a gentleman who was unlucky enough to get a ruptured appendix and who would have died even if he'd had the best medical care at the time)! This was amazing considering that the treatment rendered for many illnesses was bleeding! Lewis, who was not a trained naturalist, studied up on such things beforehand, and his descriptions of the new plants and animals are marvelous. Clark, although untrained, made marvelous maps that cartographers marvel over. There was one act of violence toward Native Americans--otherwise the Corps of Discovery tried to have (and largely succeeded in having) friendly relations with the many tribes they encountered, unlike Americans who would follow. Highly recommended reading.

Mar 31, 2014

On May 14, 1804, at the request of President Thomas Jefferson, Captain Meriwether Lewis and Captain William Clark set out on perhaps the greatest overland adventure in United States history. Their charge was to navigate the Missouri River from St. Louis as far as they could, then reach by any means possible the Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, they would be documenting botanical, ecological, biological, geographical and ethnological and cultural experiences as they met and interacted with the native american tribes and observed the new flora and fauna of the west. The party included thirty-one other individuals, most with military experience, and a few interpreters -- among them the famed Sacagawea. The expedition was tremendously successful, particularly when viewed from the 21st century. They experienced their fair share of travel-related aches and pains, accidental wounds, and diseases such as dysentery, among other things. Lewis himself was unfortunate enough to be shot in the thigh by "friendly fire" (an amusing incident for the reader, but which could just as easily have been tragic). It's astounding that only one man died -- and he from appendicitis.

At over 400 pages (abridged!), this is a fascinating and incredibly documented adventure story transcribed from the actual diary entries of the expedition members. I rarely found it dry or boring, and suspect that perhaps the slow or uneventful parts were already edited out. English spelling was not yet standardized at the time, and this is evident in some paragraphs where the same word is spelled in a number of different ways, depending apparently on what the writer felt like in the moment. Some of the more intriguing passages involve the interactions between the men and the tribes they meet. Their reception is most often congenial and welcoming, if also a bit wary and, considering what we now know about the United States' future relations, somewhat disturbing. Lewis and Clark's inner thoughts are thick with eurocentric superiority punctuated by rare, brief glimpses recognizing a shared humanity.


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