Seduced by the West by Laurie Winn Carlson
Jefferson's America and the Lure of the Land Beyond the Mississippi (Lewis & Clark Expedition)

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In her provocative new book, Laurie Winn Carlson questions the larger aims of the famed Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804-1806 and sees it as part of a broad range of schemes to wrest the American West from the claims of established European powers. If American ships were already plying the waters off the Pacific Northwest coast, why, Ms. Carlson asks, was it necessary to send these two intrepid explorers overland-except as a demonstration of American reach, and perhaps as a ploy to tempt the Spanish to attack the expedition, thus provoking a war with Spain in Florida and the West. Ms. Carlson views the Lewis and Clark expedition as just one of several schemes to seize Western lands from foreign powers and extend the new United States to the Pacific. And behind the scenes in most all of them was the Virginian who actually knew little about the region but under whose presidency the Louisiana Purchase was completed, Thomas Jefferson. As Ms. Carlson notes, Jefferson never traveled west, but he was involved to varying degrees with men who did the exploring, organizing, and trekking at the Western frontiers-men who left few papers for historians to pursue and have been largely forgotten. Seduced by the West investigates the wide range of players in this drama of intrigue and possibilities. Russia, Spain, England, and France all tried to explore the West, and all for different reasons. Only one nation succeeded, but as Ms. Carlson shows, it was not always a simple task-or even an intended one.

About Laurie Winn Carlson

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Laurie Winn Carlson's A Fever in Salem, a new interpretation of the New England witch trials, was widely praised. She has also written frequently on the history of the West, including Cattle: An Informal Social HIstory; Sidesaddles to Heaven; and Boss of the Plains. She lives in Cheney, Washington.
Published April 8, 2003 by Ivan R. Dee. 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Nature & Wildlife, War, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Amateur historian Carlson (Cattle, 2001, etc.) wonders why Thomas Jefferson should have bothered to send Meriwether Lewis and William Clark off on an arduous transcontinental journey by foot when Yankee clippers were already plying the Pacific coast, why he didn’t bother to commission one of thos...

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Publishers Weekly

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Carlson (A Fever in Salem) also doesn't miss the chance to scrutinize Thomas Jefferson's motives and actions, and she finds him involving himself in many questionable projects (although there's no hard evidence to prove him culpable of sordid acts).

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