There have been quite a few books written about the lives of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, but it is safe to say no one writes these historical biographies quite like Stephen E. Ambrose. The advantage with reading Ambrose is you get the entire story and then some!
Ambrose does not begin with the first steps Lewis took towards the Pacific, but the many steps involved in his succession as Captain, the development of his friendship with Thomas Jefferson, and what led to Clark joining Lewis on this most historic journey. And with the detail that Ambrose uses with Lewis and Clark’s travail across the American West, one cannot help but feel it is really taking years to get through this lengthy book.
The advantage of the audiobook is that apart from being very mobile, one feels, as they list to these well-read words, that he or she is really waling along with Lewis and Clark, listening to them chatter amongst themselves, watching as Lewis writes his journal, playing a lead role in the fights that place between the members of the party, and what led to the specific decisions that were taken.
My only complaint really would be that Ambrose goes a little too far with his depth, as the book carries on fro quite a few pages after Lewis’ suicide, to the extend that the author rehashes what he has already told the reader, and reveals points of character about Lewis that the reader certainly already knows. Nevertheless, plowing through this book is much like the journey Lewis and Clark took: it is long and hard, but a historical journey that the reader will never forget.
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Originally published on April 29th 2002.
Originally published in the Long Beach Union.