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Publisher's Summary

The companion audiobook to Ken Burns's PBS documentary film.

In the spring of 1804, at the behest of President Thomas Jefferson, a party of explorers called the Corps of Discovery crossed the Mississippi River and started up the Missouri, heading west into the newly acquired Louisiana Territory.

The expedition, led by two remarkable and utterly different commanders - the brilliant but troubled Meriwether Lewis and his trustworthy, gregarious friend William Clark - was to be the United States' first exploration into unknown spaces. The unlikely crew came from every corner of the young nation: soldiers from New Hampshire and Pennsylvania and Kentucky, French Canadian boatmen, several sons of white fathers and Indian mothers, a slave named York, and eventually a Shoshone Indian woman, Sacagawea, who brought along her infant son.

Together they would cross the continent, searching for the fabled Northwest Passage that had been the great dream of explorers since the time of Columbus. Along the way they would face incredible hardship, disappointment, and danger; record in their journals hundreds of animals and plants previously unknown to science; encounter a dizzying diversity of Indian cultures; and, most of all, share in one of America's most enduring adventures. Their story may have passed into national mythology, but never before has their experience been rendered as vividly, in words and pictures, as in this marvelous homage by Dayton Duncan.

Plentiful excerpts from the journals kept by the two captains and four enlisted men convey the raw emotions, turbulent spirits, and constant surprises of the explorers, who each day confronted the unknown with fresh eyes. An elegant preface by Ken Burns, as well as contributions from Stephen E. Ambrose, William Least Heat-Moon, and Erica Funkhouser, enlarge upon important threads in Duncan's narrative, demonstrating the continued potency of events that took place almost two centuries ago. And a wealth of paintings, photographs, journal sketches, maps, and film images from the PBS documentary lends this historic, nation-redefining milestone a vibrancy and immediacy to which no American will be immune.

©2012 Dayton Duncan (P)2012 Random House

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  • OC
  • 06-18-15

Perfect for travel

This was perfect to listen to as I drove across country. Almost along the same path! Love history!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant history and so exciting

Wow what a brilliant and exciting and complete account of the great Lewis and Clark expedition of the west. I learned so much and felt like I was traveling with them this is one of the best American history documentaries of the west I will ever read. It's a masterpiece!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Quick Dive into Lewis and Clark

There are so many different books on Lewis and Clark with each having a particular angle. This book is a broad stroke of their journey out west highlighting the major events. It is a quick and entertaining listen. I use this version with my 8th grade US history class, and the students love it. If you want the highlights of their journey with several interesting anecdotes and facts, this is the Lewis and Clark book for you!

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Great book

But at times the variations of the narrators voice made it hard to hear. Still a great book.

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Fascinating detailed story of the Lewis and Clark expedition

Ken Burns, Alan Arkin and others narrate Lewis and Clark’s story so you can envision it. A pleasure to listen to and it makes you want to see these magnificent places. It also makes one appreciate the Native Americans’ history in the American West and how some of their leaders realized early on how their lives would be forever changed.

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Compact, authentic, concise!

We have followed much of the trail ourselves, and this book was a fabulous addition to the experience!

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fabulous

I was never a history buff in high school, if Ken Burns would have been my teacher I would have been an 'A' student.

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  • Tom S.
  • Willoughby Hills, OH, US
  • 06-30-15

Great!

This was a great primer to listen to on our drive out west before visiting many of the sites. Our visits to the Columbia River area was better having listened to this book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful