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Publisher's Summary

Captain Meriwether Lewis was hand-picked by President Thomas Jefferson to explore and acquire the American West. In 1803, Lewis and his partner William Clark led an expedition up the Missouri River to the Rockies, over the mountains, down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean and back. They endured incredible hardships and saw amazing sights. Stephen Ambrose has pieced together previously unknown information to provide a colorful and realistic backdrop for the expedition, as seen through Lewis' eyes. Adventure, politics, suspense, drama, diplomacy, romance and personal tragedy combine to make this outstanding work of scholarship as engaging as any work of fiction.
©1996 Stephen E. Ambrose, All Rights Reserved (P)1996 Simon & Schuster Inc., All Rights Reserved

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Robert
  • Highlands Ranch, CO, United States
  • 06-01-04

Excellent book

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.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Susan
  • Fairbanks, AK, United States
  • 09-13-10

A life changing experience

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Emmanuel
  • B-1325 Chaumont-GistouxBelgium
  • 06-10-05

Could not read the book but enjoyed the audio

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

When purchasing, there was no mention that this reading is abridged. For the full story, buy the book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Well presented<br />

Highly detailed, mostly agrees with other accounts. Narration is professional and flawless. I recommend this book.




  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The telling of the men who opened the West.

In an age known more for its bitter fights to grasp power over others, this event reminds us of who we should hold up as examples, instead if those we seem to keep voting for

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • dianne
  • BURNS, TENNESSEE, United States
  • 02-11-17

This should be an American History Text Book!

Where does Undaunted Courage rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

My audible books fall into categories, one of them being American History. So... I can say, this is in the top five books I've heard on the Amerian west.

Would you be willing to try another book from Stephen E. Ambrose? Why or why not?

I would like another book by Ambrose but next time, I want a more complete ending. I felt as if there were things left unsaid at the end.

Have you listened to any of Cotter Smith’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes I have listened to Cotter Smith previously and when I see he is the narrator, I am comfortable with buying the audible version. I am not certain everyone puts too much thought into rehearsing and checking pronunciation of words prior to recording and Smith's dedication comes thru.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

A great tag line if this were a movie would be, "what history teachers didn't tell us!"

Any additional comments?

When we are school, prior to college, most people just study for the test and a good grade. However, when a great teacher really explores the depth of a time period and has passion about it, the information stays forever. Listening to this book, I was "there" with the people, understood and felt what they did. That's what makes a good audible book!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding read!

Ambrose at his best! it's sad, that now he belongs to the ages! Favorite book!

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Nothing new here

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.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful