©1996 Stephen E. Ambrose, All Rights Reserved; (P)1996 Simon & Schuster Inc., All Rights Reserved; AUDIOWORKS is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.
"Stephen Ambrose is that rare breed: a historian with true passion for his subject. Here he takes one of the great...stories in American history and breathes fresh life into it." (Ken Burns)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The book was exhaustive enough to really get a feel for what happened on this incredible journey. Ambrose?s analysis was interesting and in areas where some conjecture was necessary he presented several of the leading ideas and comments, which I felt was very appropriate considering the sometimes incomplete history of the story. The only area that I was disappointed in was the last few chapters. Perhaps some of my disappointment was the fact the last few chapters dealt with the events after the expeditions conclusion and I wasn?t ready stop hearing about the fascinating stories of the Indians, bears, and other dangerous encounters. I gave it 4 stars and would highly recommend.
I wish I had noticed this book was published in 1996. I purchased it thinking there would be new insights added to the folklore most Americans learned in 5th grade class and field trips to history museums, but there wasn't much other than details of provisions purchased and used, salaries paid, ranks bestowed, diseases endured, moneys authorized and spent, etc., that added nothing to a story for non-scholars. The lengthy, overly personal and sentimental preface and dedication almost caused me to stop before the story began. Maybe there was more to the unabridged version.
I bought this for my son, but thought I would listen to "a bit" of it while I cleaned house. Four hours later I was listening to the ending, still spellbound. The listener has been through all sorts of travails with Lewis, from planning the trip and reaching the Pacific and the long return. At long last, Ambrose gave Lewis his due. It took almost 200 years, but we finally see him as the hero and genius that he was. I was heartbroken by his suicide. Ambrose himself reads the very ending of the book, and he sounds like Jefferson himself listing the amazing traits that Lewis possessed and that made the great expedition possible. Behind Ambrose's aging but poignant voice, you'll hear Dvorak's "New World Symphony." It is a tour de force! I live in Alaska on a hill overlooking the great sweep of the Tanana River, with miles of wilderness stretching before me. I went out on my deck as the sun was setting and listened to Jefferson's tribute and the beautiful music and sobbed as hard as I have ever sobbed in my life. But it wasn't sadness. I was just in awe of the book, the journey, the greatness of Lewis, and the beauty of wild nature. I have recommended it to friends and they also said that it was an unforgettable journey for them also. I will never forget this audiobook! Get it, set aside some time when you will be alone to savor every word, and try to get to a spot of wilderness to listen to the ending. You will cherish the memory.
I purchased this book and realized after 40 pages that I would never be able to finish it. So the audio gave me a second chance, and I really enjoyed it. There is so much to learn. The writing is not the best, but the narrator is doing a good job of inflating a bit of life in this long book.
I highly recommend it.
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