Lewis & Clark

The Journey of the Corps of Discovery
Narrated by: Ken Burns, Adam Arkin
Length: 3 hrs and 57 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (203 ratings)

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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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What listeners say about Lewis & Clark

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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!!!

4 people found this helpful

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Perfect for travel

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

4 people found this helpful

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A little too brief

this was a very good summary of the Corps of Discovery for those who don't want to commit to Ambrose's much more substantial tome. Still, I found it too brief in many parts and wished for a bit more. All in all, I'd recommend this one for a fast study of the major parts of the journey westward

1 person found this helpful

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Just Right!!!

For me, this was the perfect introduction. The story was gripping. The audio performance, which had difference voices, was outstanding. There was a good mix of story/explanation, journal quotes, and commentary. I am actually going to listen through it again. I read most reviews on other L&C audio books, and this was just the right length and level of detail I was looking for.

1 person found this helpful

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Burns is a great producer but not a great narrator

Burns is by far the weakest member of the cast. His bland monotone just kills any momentum of the story. As a result, it came across as a litany of quotes, rather than a real story, which is utterly unlike Burns’s other documentaries. I spent most of the piece trying to imagine it narrated by David McCullough. If only.

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Complete telling of this amazing adventure.

Loved this book and will listen again to get everything I missed. A very thorough telling of this piece of history.

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Hard to Imagine

As a boater it is hard to imagine going against the current of such a formidable and lengthy river as the Missouri only to then face the Rocky and Sierra mountains. True Grit!

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This was amazing.

I cannot wait to read this story to my son! Full of Adventure and history. All the elements of a great story

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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.