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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
It's no secret that the only narrative available from Lewis and Clark themselves was one they wrote in raw form while on their journey. While this offers a certain "real time" value, it is a value best appreciated by researchers and not your average reader. I was intrigued enough by other books in this series to want to hear about Lewis & Clark's adventures in their own words, but not to read details of every single day of their journey which, by its very nature, can't help but be monotonous.
This book, on the other hand, gave me a true sense of what their journey was like, and what they were like without giving me the details of each morning's breakfast menu.
And that sense, by the way, was conveyed without any sense of abruptness or with any apparent gaps in the narrative. This book was a joy insomuch as it delivered the experience smoothly in their own words without the kind of puzzling pauses which accompany writings in broken English.
In much the same way that this exploration opened the west, this book opened my eyes to this exploration. It is absolutely worth the read.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
Brandt's abridgment of these important historical documents will be the one that lasts for years to come. He makes these journals accessible to the everyday historian, who is interested in what the Corps of Discovery actually did, and saves us from having to struggle with quaint and erroneous spelling.
Interestingly, Lewis and Clark themselves never meant the journals to be published just as they wrote them. The editor Brandt has done us a great service by cleaning up the language, making the text flow seamlessly, and leaving out the boring parts.
There are those who will carp over his correction of the spelling (pedants who read Virgil in the original), but the rest of us are grateful. Brandt's talent as a writer shines through the work as he connects the journal sections with elegantly crafted passages.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
After trying (trying is the operative word here) to slog through the journals in the original spelling and with little or no punctuation, it was a real joy to read this version edited by Anthony Brandt. The stories of their encounters with natives tribes, grizzley bears and of their day-to-day lives make for a compelling adventure story. And unlike the previous editions, Brandt summarizes those sections that are not included in well-crafted prose that keep the story flowing. This reads like the true adventure story it was and is destined to be a classic in the American history literature.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is an outstanding read made possible by excellent editing and editorial comment. Some have criticized the editor for modernizing and correcting the spelling and even interpreting the notes found in of Lewis and Clark's journals. Frankly I think that this is will make this edition of their journals more accessible to the masses. Their continental crossing and return is one of the greatest stories ever told and thank goodness they documented it so carefully.

The journey and this book have inspired me to make a trip or two next year to see for myself some of the places they saw and documented for the first time only two hundred years ago. Great editorial notation on places, animals, and people to give the modern reader some reference along with beginning chapter notes. Jefferson's amazing directive in its entirety is included. I liked reading it and referencing some good maps so I could vicariously place myself with the expedition. The Corps of Discovery was made up of great American heros. This riveting journey is a must read for all ages.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a long-time lover of the Journals of Lewis and Clark, I was interested in a book that finally corrected the grammatical errors that I have always found annoying. But after reading this book, I'll keep the errors, just please don't subject these amazing journals to the ego of someone like Anthony Brandt!!

Brandt's intrusive comments (which fill the book) are extremely annoying. What in better times would have been at most a footnote, is now made a part of the text, making reading this book like reading a blog with the commentator's comments inserted right in the middle of the text!

Brandt just can't keep his mouth shut and loosely comments throughout the book. Some of his notes in the beginning of chapters are interesting, but much of what he writes are from his own subjective viewpoints and should not have been included within the text.

The National Geographic should have caught this before publication of these priceless journals!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you don't enjoy thrashing through the "interesting" spelling found in the original journals, this is the book for you. It's been well "translated" into modern American. Some lengthy portions of the journals are merely summarized, so you really only get a partial picture, but the parts you do get are crystal clear. Well worth the read for the Lewis & Clark fan.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2007
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book consists of actual journal entries (with spelling and grammar corrections) and offers interesting insights into the day-to-day rigors of their travels, as well as a unique historical perspective into their journey. Many days were just plain boring- hunted some more, walked some more, saw some more buffalo, etc.- but you really get the feeling of being there.

Best read with maps and additional pictures/illustrations offered in other books in order to get the complete story. Ranked #2 by National Geographic on their list of the Top 100 Adventure Books of all time. I certainly wouldn't rank it that high having read many other books on the list, but it is a must-read nonetheless.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
A few years ago I read Stephen Ambrose's book on the Lewis & Clark Voyage of Discovery. I was excited to read about their journey and the amazing discoveries they made and the challenges they faced. Recently my wife and I were planning a trip to Yellowstone NP and I happened upon the Journals of Lewis and Clark (National Geographic Adventure Classics). These journals were the equivalent to my being able to join the Lewis & Clark expedition. I could hardly put down my Kindle, as the Expedition challenged the rivers, encountered numerous indian tribes, suffered through heat and cold, hunted or traded for their daily food, identified new species of flora and fauna, and most wonderfully introduced me to our diverse and beautiful country. The icing on the cake is that the expedition lost only one man to natural causes, yet they faced death every day.

This is a unique American story about a visionary President, two focused leaders and a cadre of brave men who explored and blazed an indelible trail which greatly expanded our nation.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
You already know who they are and what they did. Now read a day by day account made while on the voyage westward. From relations with the Indians, to the flora and fauna of the virginal American continent, the conduct of the men and the mercurial nature of the weather, this record of the most famous exploration in US history is a must for historians and casual readers alike.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
When I was about halfway through this abridgment, I compared it in a bookstore to the abridgment by Gary Moulton (The Lewis and Clark Journals (Abridged Edition)), editor of the complete edition of the Journals. Whereas Brandt, the editor of the text under review, "modernizes" the language, correcting the spelling and syntax, and combining fragments into grammatically correct sentences, Moulton leaves the spelling and syntax untouched, and only abridges the text to compress the Journals into a single volume.

I expected to prefer Moulton's version, simply because it was less altered, truer to the authors' intent. But, of course, Lewis and Clark did not intend to misspell words - some words in multiple ways - or to use odd, jarring punctuation. The Journals as published by Moulton are Field Drafts, unaltered, which would have been corrected and refined before publication, had Lewis lived to do the necessary work. But yet, there is something robust, vivid and historically present about the uncorrected text; and if the abridgments were equivalent in content, I may have discovered a preference for Moulton's over Brandt's.

But I found Brandt's abridgment more interesting in content - and naturally less linguistically obtrusive. In the section I randomly compared (I don't remember which), Brandt excluded far less than Moulton, and the extent of the exclusions by Moulton were not apparent from the text, leaving the impression that only a sentence or two may have been excised, when in fact full, rich paragraphs were missing from the page.

It isn't that I don't have complaints about Brandt's choices. He often summarizes what he excludes, and many times I wished he had left in what he kept out. There are other abridgments of the Journals in print and whether one is "better" than another, I cannot say. This one, however, is good, and if you're looking for an abridgment to read that reads smoothly and doesn't require decoding skills you might certainly have but would rather not use, consider this edition. When you're finished you might find yourself wanting to read the entire multi-volume Journal, misspellings, sentence fragments, and all.

The Definitive Journals of Lewis and Clark, 7-volume set

The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 13-Volume Set
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