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Lewis and Clark among the Indians (Bicentennial Edition) (Lewis & Clark Expedition) Paperback – June 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Series: Lewis & Clark Expedition
  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books; 2nd edition (June 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803289901
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803289901
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #573,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Particularly valuable for Ronda's inclusion of pertinent background information about the various tribes and for his ethnological analysis. An appendix also places the Sacagawea myth in its proper perspective. Gracefully written, the book bridges the gap between academic and general audiences."—Choice
(Choice)

"James P. Ronda in Lewis and Clark among the Indians has drawn from the journals and other documents a compelling narrative of the expedition's encounters with the Indians. It is a story of discovery and suspense, and it is told with a modern concern to understand the Indian side as well as the white in the meeting of the two cultures."—William and Mary Quarterly
(William and Mary Quarterly)

"A welcome and progressive volume in the growing literature on the significance of America's most famous exploratory trek. James Ronda retraces the trail of Lewis and Clark and provides a refreshing context to an event in U.S. history that has become part of our national mythology. . . . He also gives faces and personalities to the many native leaders and their kinsmen and kinswomen who hosted, traded with, slept with, and on occasion scrapped with the expeditionaries."—Ethnohistory
(Ethnohistory)

"This book is an important contribution to Indian ethnohistory and to the literature of the Lewis and Clark expedition."—American Indian Quarterly
(American Indian Quarterly)

About the Author

James P. Ronda holds the H. G. Barnard Chair in Western History at the University of Tulsa. He is also the author of Finding the West: Explorations with Lewis and Clark and Astoria and Empire, available in a Bison Books edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
A more detailed view of Lewis and Clark's relations and attitudes toward the Indians. Interesting insight into Sacagawea's true role within the Corp of Discovery. A must read for any Lewis and Clark/Western history buff.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By William J Higgins III on October 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
Responsibilities of proclaiming U.S. sovereignty, promoting intertribal peace between Indians, and advancing American trade were major components of the Corps of Discovery. This book portrays the relationships between Indian and white convergences when the U.S. was spreading its wings into unknown but recently acquired territories.
Ronda chronologically takes the reader up the Missouri River with Lewis and Clark first beginning with the Oto and Missouri Indians, followed by the Yankton Sioux, the intimidating and challenging Teton Sioux, the apprehensive Arikaras, winter life in the Mandan/Hidatsa village, the amiable Shoshones, Nez Perce and Flathead tribes and culminating with the ever so pilfering, troublesome lower Columbia River Indians.
What Ronda makes very clear, and what Lewis and Clark were hard pressed to alter and/or understand, were the intricate and byzantine trade network systems which existed among the various tribes. For example, there was the Teton Sioux and Arikara trade, followed by the Mandan/Hidatsa and Assinboine trade alliances which were difficult and demanding systems to change.
Secondly, encouraging intertribal peace between tribes was like swimming against the current. After decades and possibly centuries of intertribal warring, peace was not going to happen overnight.
If the reader is somewhat versed in the Lewis and Clark literature and assumes that there is not much else to learn from the expedition, this is an extraordinary look into a different side of the journey.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ben Heaton on July 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
AS an author of a Lewis and Clark book, I can appreciate the research involved in writing a good book. Dr. Ronda has written the definitive book for understanding the interactions between The Corps of Discovery and the various Indian nations they encountered. He explains the politics behind the numerous interactions, some friendly others very contentious. For a Lewis and Clark buff, this is a MUST HAVE addition to their collection.
I totally enjoyed this book!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Clare on August 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
Lewis and Clark among the Indians by James P. Ronda is one of the most respected books in the L&C literature. It is not a general history of the expedition, but instead focuses entirely on Indian relations of the Expedition, explaining not only L&C's responsibilities, actions, and mistakes in dealing with the native people they encountered, but also on the motivations and views of the Indians.

The most interesting aspect of the book for me was the discussion of Lewis and Clark as ethnographers (or recorders of primary data about native American life). Several members of the Expedition made particularly valuable notes on the lifestyles of the Indians they met. Sergeant John Ordway had a talent for recording homey details that give us a glimpse into a long-vanished world of Indians at the moment of first contact with whites. Sergeant Patrick Gass, a carpenter, perceptively described the houses of the Indians. William Clark gravitated instinctively toward political analysis, grasping who the leadership was and how Indian power politics worked. It's not surprising he later proved so talented as a diplomat managing Indian affairs in the West long after the Expedition. But it was Meriwether Lewis who emerged as the premier ethnographer of the Expedition. Food, clothing, cooking utensils, weapons all caught Lewis's eye and were recorded, and often drawn, in painstaking detail.

Thankfully, Ronda steers clear of political correctness, refusing to portray the Indians as saintly victims or L&C as the vanguard of American imperialism. Lewis and Clark among the Indians is academic history at its finest. The research is fresh, measured, and dispassionate. As such it will appeal to those readers with a particular interest in the topic.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
A well researched book that is not meant to replace a reading of the original journals. Dr. Rhonda did an excellent job putting the American Indians back in to the narrative of Lewis & Clark's expedition. The information regarding the various tribes and nations is quite accurate and helps to give an introduction to American Indian history for someone who might not have any familiarity of the western nations. Generally, the book is well-written and interesting. It could be interesting and entertaining for both academic and general readers.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 4, 1998
Format: Paperback
Lewis and Clark Among the Indians is a great book. It is very descriptive about the Mandan winter and going across the divide. Everything about this book is amazing! I recomend this book to read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As the title indicates, Ronda's book concentrates primarily on Lewis and Clark's interactions with Indians along their journey to the Pacific. Aside from the exploration, Jefferson's other mission, as described by Ronda, was to make peace with the Indians, establishing not only a relationship with the U.S. but to also broker peace among the tribes. As the author points out, the latter was very naïve as the two explorers' did not comprehend the complex relationships among the various tribes. For example, the tribes closest to traders had a distinct advantage over the interior tribes due to their access to guns, ammunition and other material sought by the interior tribes such as the Mandan and Hidatsa tribes living well up the Missouri. Tribes such as the powerful Teton Sioux were protective of their roles as dominant traders while their enemies the Mandans and Hidatsas traded with many plains tribes due to their ability to grow vegetables and corn that the plains Indians lacked. Although trying to bridge gaps between rivals such as the Mandan and the Arikaras seemed plausible to the explorers, Ronda points out well that presents and well meaning speeches by Lewis and Clark could not realistically alter relationships until the whites provided a dominant presence among the tribes. A good portion of the book concentrates on the Mandan and Hidatsa since the explorers spent their first winter on the upper Mississippi enduring a very supportive relationship. Strong bonds were made with the Mandan but Ronda well documents the intricate relationships that the explorer's had with the various tribes including sexual contact that Ronda describes had a mystical tribal benefit aside from some cases of trade.Read more ›
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