The Journals of Lewis and Clark
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The Journals of Lewis and Clark

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  2,695 ratings  ·  120 reviews
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 rec...more
Paperback, Abridged, 600 pages
Published December 1st 2002 by National Geographic Society (first published 1905)
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Lexie
Oct 07, 2007 Lexie added it
Did you know Lewis and Clark had a dog with them that went all the way to the Pacific and back?
Lostinanovel
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Kbh103
There is something about the imperfect spelling and broken grammar that is flavorful and solid, like the scratches on a vintage record or the fuzz in the background on the radio. Also, some of the passages are just flat-out cool in their curt yet epic appraisal of the landscape. "Yep, over there, the Indians won't go near that mountain because it's said that it's defended by Spirits and Little People who will kill you if you get too close. Me and Lewis are gonna go check it out tomorrow." Liked...more
Dominick
Lewis and Clark are two well known mans that were sent by Thomas Jefferson to explore the northwest passage. In 1803 they set out from St. Louis, Missouri on a keel boat on the Missouri river. They were to find specimens in the north west to give to Jefferson for new discoveries of animals they have found. This book is about Lewis and Clark who struggle through a 2 year trip to explore the Louisiana territory who Thomas Jefferson bought from a guy by the name of napoleon to expand united states....more
Jeff
Oct 21, 2007 Jeff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with no sense [or a good sense] of history and an appreciation for creative spellings
The ultimate travel book. A well-edited and annotated conglomeration of both Lewis & Clark's journals of their journey to find the west coast of America and back. Truly one of the most amazing journeys ever made by Americans - and one that still is probably more amazing than the one made to the moon. The writing itself is really interesting (and funny) for its typical early 19th century disregard for regularity of spellings, but the sheer awesomeness of seeing the things they saw for the fir...more
Darren Hawkins
I've always been intrigued by Lewis and Clark, and I enjoy generally books about adventuring and exploration. But I never really thought I would want to read their journals. They are massive, to begin. And how interesting can it be to say--"Made 20 miles upriver today"--over and over again? Then I found this abridged version, where the editor summarized events every few months. I loved the result! I often wanted to read more from their journals, though I was quite grateful that I got some summar...more
Susan Chamberlain
Don't buy the unabridged Kindle version. Evidently Captain Clark kept multiple copies of his journal, and all 2 or 3 versions are presented in chronological order. You find yourself reading very tedious accounts of how much game they saw, the natives they encountered and the rivers they passed, all repeated 2 or 3 times for each day. In print versions I assume it would be easy to skip to the next day, but in Kindle it is not.
Bill Palladino
Maybe I'm a sap. I don't know. This book was enthralling from start to finish. One of the most pivotal moments in American history as Merriwether Lewis and William Clark set off on a brave expedition of what would soon become United States territory. Sent on a mission of exploration and commerce by Thomas Jefferson this duo and their cohorts endure hardship after hardship on their quest to follow the Missouri River to its headwaters and to the Pacific Ocean beyond.

The prose is stunning as the tw...more
George Mickelson
How did you pick this book?
I read this book because my mom recommended it to me and I needed to read a nonfiction book.

Significance of the title?
The title is The Journals of Lewis and Clark and this is significant because this is the legit journals of Lewis and Clark on their voyage in the 1800’s.

What is the purpose of this book?
The purpose of this book is to inform people on what Lewis and Clark went through on their travels mentally and physically.

Who would be the audience for this book?
The au...more
Jeff Friedman
Ok, I aborted thus book after 50 pages or so. Not because it was uninteresting, it's just that a Lewis and Clark program was on Netflix, and after watching that, I just did not feel like reading it!
John Nettles
An amazing read; I can't believe they made it back. By far, my favorite parts were the descriptions of the virgin American landscape. I can only imagine what it would be like to see buffalo herds by the tens of thousands on the Great Plains. You also share the adventurer's annoyances, especially with the tribes, which is cloying but puts you in on the adventure. The survival aspects never get too desperate, which I like, but the pickin's are slim at times. Both Lewis and Clark demonstrate humor...more
Kathryn
I purchased this book while on our vacation, at the bookstore at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis (aka The Gateway Arch), but only started reading it along about November 12. It has been a very fun read, to see how Lewis & Clark got There and Back Again, and I am actually sorry that they have made it back safely to civilization, because I was enjoying reading the book so much.

As you learned way back in American History Class, in May of 1804 President Thomas Jefferson se...more
Sean Wylie
I learned a lot from this book about what an incredible adventure Lewis and Clark embarked on when they took 50 men into the unexplored reaches of the upper Missouri River, crossed the Rocky Mountain, and descended the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean. It was especially enjoyable to listen to this book on our adventure west into Colorado. It really gave the story additional meaning as we drove west across the prairie into the mountains and while hiking the trails of the Rockies. It was one he...more
Scott Stirling
F***ing amazing journey, chronicled daily. Just blew my mind. The amount of wildlife they had to kill daily to feed 40 people, the amount of stuff they brought, the fact no one in western science had documented a Grizzly Bear until this trip (where they saw plenty), the amazing survival of all but one of the original crew. Sacajawea and her contributions, including having a baby on the journey. All the different Native American tribes and ways of life they encountered, the languages and the food...more
Kim
I picked this up at the Fort Clatsop Museum where Lewis and Clark wintered over Nov. 1805- Mar 1806. There's quite a nice little musuem at this site with a life-sized replica of the fort and demonstrations of candle-making, how to shoot a musket, bow and arrow, as well as how to distill salt from seawater and other skills the explorers needed to know. Winter was unimaginably hard there at that fort, especially when the men all came down with a bad croup. It's truly a miracle they didn't perish....more
Devin Sixt
I'm sure this is a great book. I got just over 100 pages into it and I just couldn't go on. The book is JAM PACKED with material. Most of it being day-to-day travels where (mostly Clark) talks about what the weather was like that morning, how far they went, what the conditions of the Mississippi were like for that day, any small sandbars there were, the types of fauna and animals and just so much drudgery that it was too painful to continue. Not to mention that the author has an almost clear bia...more
Patricia
From Notes found in the bottom drawer:

Anne B. deserves the rave reviews bestowed on her for her discussion of The Journals of Lewis and Clark as edited by Bernard DeVoto. I admit thatafter her preentation, I am much more in awe of the accomplishments of the voyage and of the co-leaders. Their individual personalities balanced that f the other to the benefit of the mission...qualities that I wish more of our modern work groups wuld adopt. I plan on keeping this book in my car to reread when I'm s...more
Julie
I had wonderful history teachers in school but somehow never developed an appreciation for the story of Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery until recently. Now I've read Ambrose's fine history and followed it with this version of the journals. It's edited to remove the nonstandard spelling and grammar so they don't interfere with a modern reader's enjoyment of the story itself. Reading these journals, I developed a special fondness for Lewis. Clark is extremely matter-of-fact, but Lewis c...more
Tom Darrow
This book, though abridged and with grammar and spelling corrected, is a beast. The editor does a good job at explaining odd wording, and, thankfully, there are sections of the journal that he summarizes, but this is still a very tough read. Many of the entries are repetitive, discussing when the members of the expedition got up, what they ate and how far they traveled. The repetitive nature makes it pretty hard to visualize where they are in the course of their trip, a fact that the map provide...more
John
Jan 28, 2012 John rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone - especially those that live in the west
Recommended to John by: amazon.com
Excellent compilation of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The background history is interesting and useful. Before reading this book I could not understand why an area south of Portland, OR had a french name... or what Sergeant Bluff had to do with Sioux City, IA. If you live or travel in the areas where this expedition went, you need to read this to understand more about the names and places. It's interesting to read about these areas after having passed through many them a few weeks ago. Amazi...more
Dean
The Journals are "the first report on the West, on the United States over the hill and beyond the sunset, on the province of the American future”. In 1803, the great expanse of the Louisiana Purchase was an empty canvas. Keenly aware that the course of the nation's destiny lay westward—and that a “Voyage of Discovery” would be necessary to determine the nature of the frontier—President Jefferson commissioned Meriwether Lewis to lead an expedition from the Missouri River to the northern Pacific c...more
Angie
Our forefather Thomas Jefferson was a wise man to send Lewis and Clark to explore the west. Their journey began in May 2004 and ended in September 2006. I love reading about cultures and history so this book was packed with information about Lewis and Clark's relationship with the indians, their struggles and triumphs. I learned some truths about the different indian tribes and was surprised to say the least. If you want to know more about Lewis and Clark's observation then read the book. You wo...more
Mark
I became interested in reading this book about the time that the mint was putting out the Lewis & Clark coins. I remember studying this in elementary school and not grasping the importance of the trek. In 2006 I was on a trip through North Dakota & Montana. I just happened to stop in a store and there was this fantastic book. As I read this book I was amazed at how accurately these men described the land they traveled through. It was exactly as I had recently seen it.

This book is edited...more
Vic Heaney
This is a huge book and quite difficult to read.

It consists of the original notes taken mainly by Clark but also some entries by Lewis during their famous expedition.

It rambles, the spelling is atrocious and not even consistently atrocious. Quite often one reads the entry for a date then finds it is followed by another, expanded entry for the same date.

It is hard work to read, just as it would be difficult to read the original notes and drafts of most books. So I am regarding it as an elephan...more
Tim
It was cool to read a primary source like this for my class. It was much more engaging than I was expecting; it was definitely striking to see the inhabited "wilderness" of America through the cultural lenses of early 19th century men.

Probably the best revelation: the translations when they met a new tribe, which were like games of telephone. They seemed to collect people who spoke several languages, but only overlapped someone else with one. So a question could go from English to French to Hida...more
Chuck
Very simply, one of my favorite books of all time. This adventure was the result of President Jefferson's decision to send Lewis and Clark to the headwaters of the Missouri River after the consumation of the Louisiana Purchase. The preparation, the journey, the description of a different America, the Indian tribes, the forts, Sacagewea, the cold winter on the shores of the Columbia River and the Pacific and the return trip, make this book one of best adventures ever wrtten. The fact that it is f...more
Jim
I had always wanted to read this, and I thought there was no better time for it than while I was in Montana recently driving through the same some of the same areas in which the Lewis & Clark party traveled. Mind you, neither Lewis nor Clark wrote anything of literary quality, but the picture of an American West in which thousands of bison can be glimpsed at a time and areas which it was impossible to be traversed without being simultaneously attacked by multiple grizzly bears was a sad harb...more
Brant Heflin
This abridged version of the journals highlights the observations and experiences made on the round trip from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean (the Northern boundary of the territory then known as the Louisiana Purchase). A great many stories of the Native American Tribes are brought through in great detail. Also, the landscape and living creatures of the region are brought forward in a way that leaves me wanting it unchanged. I will be reading more first-hand travel essays from here on out as sec...more
Renee
Well, the journey took Lewis and Clark almost 2 years to complete both ways. Their journals took me about 6 months to get through... either way a long journey for both parties. Josh and I finally finished reading this one out loud together. This was a good one for lots of long car trips. I think that I really enjoyed some parts about their journal, but of course there are always the normal every-day entries that really weren't that exciting. While reading this I was able to learn a little more a...more
James Violand
Jun 28, 2014 James Violand rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Americans
Shelves: own
Wonderfully descriptive. But beware - this is the abridged edition. Time alone prevents the enormous task of reading the entire journals.
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Meriwether Lewis was an American explorer, soldier, and public administrator, best known for his role as the leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition also known as the Corps of Discovery, with William Clark, whose mission was to explore the territory of the Louisiana Purchase.
More about Meriwether Lewis...
The Lewis and Clark Journals (Abridged Edition): An American Epic of Discovery The Definitive Journals of Lewis and Clark, Vol 8: Over the Rockies to St. Louis The Definitive Journals of Lewis and Clark, 7 Vols The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Volume 2: August 30, 1803-August 24, 1804 History of the Expedition Under the Command of Captains Lewis & Clarke, Vol 2

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“Whilst I viewed those mountains, I felt a secret pleasure in finding myself so near the head of the--heretofore conceived--boundless Missouri. But when I reflected on the difficulties which this snowy barrier would most probably throw in my way to the Pacific Ocean, and the sufferings and hardships of myself and the party in them, it in some measure counterbalanced the joy I had felt in the first moments in which I gazed on them. But, as I have always held it little short of criminality to anticipate evils, I will allow it to be a good, comfortable road until I am compelled to believe otherwise. (William Clark)” 4 likes
“I called this island Bad Humored Island, as we were in a bad humor.” 1 likes
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