- Paperback: 521 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (June 2, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0684004542
- ISBN-13: 978-0684004549
- ASIN: 0684826976
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,225 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West Paperback – June 2, 1997
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Ken Burns Stephen Ambrose is that rare breed: a historian with true passion for his subject. Here he takes one of the great, but also one of the most superficially considered, stories in American history and breathes fresh life into it. Lewis comes alive as we've never known him.
From the Publisher
Undaunted Courage is the story of a heroic and legendary man, and the saga of a great nation creating itself. In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson chose Captain Meriwether Lewis to lead the first government- backed exploration of the vast and unknown western territory of what would become part of the United States. Lewis was the perfect choice.
Undaunted Courage is first and foremost a significant, scholarly work, yet it reads like an adventure novel filled with high drama, suspense, and personal tragedy. It brings to life the times and circumstances of Meriwether Lewis and his unprecedented expedition, and renews our wonder of the vastness of our country and the heroics of our forefathers.
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This long book could not have been easy to read, but Barrett Whitener does a super job. Honestly, I prefer reading paper books to listening to books or reading on a Kindle, but Mr. Whitener makes me forget that I'm listening instead of reading.
This is an unabridged set which includes much early history of Meriwether Lewis and his history after the Expedition was over.
Lewis's unraveling and acute illness when he assumed a political post after the expedition was over is heart breaking. He became terribly ill, ultimately committing suicide while still in his 30's, and there didn't seem to be anyone available to help him. Or, of course, the sort of medications routinely available to modern day physicians. Despite his ignominious and terrible slide toward death by his own hand, Meriwether Lewis stands with his great friend William Clark as one of the best men our armed forces ever saw.
Like all other historical books written by Stephen Ambrose, Undaunted Courage was meticulously researched and is well written. It stands out among the many works written about the now famous Louis and Clark Expedition and is considered by many authorities to be the most accurate account.
Those who read for enjoyment will find this book entertaining and easy to read, while those doing research will find it an invaluable source of information.
The book covers the historical narrative from preparation through the journey and beyond to Lewis’ death, mostly from the perspective of Lewis’ journal. Throughout, I kept wondering what others thought and experienced. This became especially frustrating as Ambrose kept mentioning that others were writing journals, but doesn’t seem to explore their experiences. For example, when the expedition splits into various factions, we remain with Lewis—clueless about what was discovered or thought by others. At least, it would have been interesting to experience Clarke’s perspective.
Also interesting would be to consider if Lewis’ long term ingestion of Mercury contributed to the behavior that led to his end.
Still, I strongly recommend the book for those looking for a historical narrative from the perspective of Lewis retold through a historians lens.