Journals of Lewis and Clark by Meriwether Lewis, William Clark & Anthony Brandt
(National Geographic Adventure Classics)

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At the dawn of the 19th century, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark embarked on an unprecedented journey from St. Louis, Missouri to the Pacific Ocean and back again. Their assignment was to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Territory and record the geography, flora, fauna, and people they encountered along the way. The tale of their incredible journey, meticulously recorded in their journals, has become an American classic.

This single-volume, landmark edition of the famous journals is the first abridgement to be published in at least a decade.

About Meriwether Lewis, William Clark & Anthony Brandt

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The Lewis and Clark expedition was one of the earliest crossings of the United States. Eager to expand the country, President Thomas Jefferson appointed Lewis, formerly his private secretary, to seek a Northwest passage to the Orient. Lewis and his partner, William Clark, were both seasoned soldiers, expert woodsmen, and boatmen. They both kept journals and so did 4 sergeants and 1 private in the party of 43 men. They started from St. Louis in 1804, heading up to the Missouri River, across the Rockies, and down to the Pacific coast at the mouth of the Columbia River. The Indian woman Sacajawea ("Bird Woman") gave them valuable help on the hazardous journey, which lasted 2 years, 4 months, and 10 days, and cost the U.S. government a total of $38,722.25. Lewis was the better educated of the two captains, and his account has more force, but Clark was a superb observer who wrote in an ingenious phonetic spelling of his own invention. The official edition of the Journals did not appear until 1814, when they were edited in two volumes by Nicholas Biddle and Paul Allen. This text, a paraphrase of the journals, was used in various editions until 1904, when Reuben G. Thwaites edited an eight-volume edition, published in 1904--05. Many recent editions have followed the original text, making the journals available in all of their original freshness. Early in 1960 it was announced in the New York Times that 67 notes written by Clark had been given by Frederick W. Beinecke of New York to the Yale University Library. "The documents, finger-smudged, blotted and blurred with cross-outs, list personal observations previously unknown to historians. . . . The documents, consisting of old letters, envelopes and scraps of paper, were the subject of an unusual legal fight. After the Clark notes were found in an attic in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1952, the United States moved to obtain them. The Government contended the documents were part of the official records of Clark while he served the United States. The Federal Court of Appeals in St. Louis dismissed the suit on Jan. 23, 1958. The court test was closely watched by libraries, museums and the American Philosophical Society. Had the Government been upheld, the custody of similar historical documents would have been jeopardized. . . ." Shortly after the end of the expedition, Lewis was appointed governor of the Territory of Upper Louisiana. When he at last took up his post, he was mysteriously killed---or took his own life---in the lonely wilderness. Anthony Brandt is an expert in the history of travel and adventure and is the book review editor for "Adventure" magazine. He has edited more than 20 books for National Geographic and is a contributor to "GQ, Esquire," the "New York Times Sunday Magazine," and other publications. His edited "Journals of Lewis and Clark" has sold nearly 100,000 copies in special markets and the trade.
Published August 19, 2009 by National Geographic. 600 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Education & Reference, Travel, Action & Adventure, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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