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From Sea to Shining Sea
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From Sea to Shining Sea

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,440 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
In one generation, the Clark family of Virginia fought for our nation's independence, and explored, conquered, and settled the continent from sea to shining sea. This powerfully written book recreates the warm life of the family, the dangers of the battlefield, the grueling journeys across an untamed wilderness, and the soul-stirring Lewis and Clark Expedition. This mighty ...more
Paperback, 896 pages
Published November 12th 1986 by Ballantine Books (first published 1984)
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Jan 22, 2012 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: History buffs, ANYONE, lovers of epic novels
Recommended to Kelly by: Read a previous Thom novel
Upgrading this review to say - Hands down, my favorite book. Ever. Yes, that is a HUGE statement but have you ever finished reading something and been devastated that the story is over? Have you ever read something where you go on a research spree immediately afterwards to learn more about the characters, the time period, the events in history, etc? This is one such book.

I got hooked on historical fiction over fifteen years ago when I read 'Follow the River' by this same author. I would recommen
Holly Weiss
This epic historical fiction novel follows the American (originating in Virginia) Rogers/Clark family from 1773 to 1806. Mary and John Clark had ten children (including William of the William and Clark Expedition). All contributed to different facets of American liberty and exploration. The character and courage Mary and John instilled in their children is amazing.

The first two hundred pages introduce us to the family and its dynamics. Jonathan and George, the two eldest sons, are portrayed next
Nov 18, 2008 Marlene rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible history of the Clark family and the influence they had on shaping our country's history. William Clark was the other half of the Lewis/Clark expidition. His brothers were soldiers in the Revolutionary War and were influential in our winning that war. This is a little know fact, probably obscured by their more famous brother. This is a long read---allow at least a week, but well worth the time you'll spend.
Mary Choate
Jan 16, 2009 Mary Choate rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating story. At times a tiny slow, but you will feel more educated and inspired after reading it. It's about the entire Clark family (Clark as in Lewis and Clark...) This happened during our Revolutionary War and continues while our country is being established. I haven't met anyone that didn't like this book! These people will surprise and amaze you, especially since they are real people!!
Sep 14, 2007 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: westerns
A family saga of the great American Clark family. This story starts when William Clark is a toddler and his big brother George is off exploring the wilderness. The stroy touches on the lives of all the Clark children, with special attention to George Rogers Clark and William Clark. Great sweeping saga!
Margaret Petersen
Jan 04, 2009 Margaret Petersen rated it it was amazing
There is no better writer of historical fiction than James Alexander Thom. He brings the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to life. When I travelled part of their trail, I knew just what Lewis and Clark had experienced in their journeys, thanks to having read this book.
Sep 25, 2009 Marj rated it it was amazing
This is my kind of book. Granted, it took me over 6 months to read (due to other activities over the summer and a few other books to squeeze in along the way). And even though the book is nearly 900 pages, it is so readable and interesting and it never bogs down. I was really sad when it ended; I wanted more. Thom makes you feel as if you know the characters; as though they are your friends or your family; and to feel history as if you were actually there. I learned things about the revolutionar ...more
Dec 07, 2009 Suzanna rated it it was ok
This is my least favorite of Thom's books so far. This novel follows the lives of the Clarks in early America. I found the depiction of the family, particularly when involving the parents, to be sappy and sentimental. In terms of entertainment, I enjoyed the last third of the book the most, and could see much of the foundation for building later, better novels in that latter section. The best part of this read, for me, was gleaning information about the time period and reinforcing my understandi ...more
amazing book about an amazing journey! was buried in it for a week and savored every page.
Apr 14, 2010 Julie rated it really liked it
Oh, I finally and unfortunately have finished this wonderful book. I don't know how I'll live without my Captain William Clark, General George Clark and the rest of the wonderful Clark Family. I'm am impressed by this author's version of the wonderful events that shaped our free country. If you've ever read Undaunted Courage, you will like this warmer and not told story.
Aug 04, 2008 Marlene rated it it was amazing
Read this quite awhile back, actually while living out of the country. It was quite an adventure, heading West with Lewis and Clark. Thom did a marvelous job making each moment very real to me. I have not read the book by Stephen Ambrose on the same topic, which I hear is great, too. When I finished Thom's book, I decided I was way too exhausted to travel that route again!
Apr 21, 2010 Teresa rated it it was amazing
Wow! This softcover is over 800 pages and I'm STILL sad that it's over. I never knew much more than William Clark's name (and that in relation to the Lewis & Clark trail), but now feel much more informed; not just about Cap'n Clark, but his whole family as well... and their far-reaching influence on the expansion of the United States. Great read!
Jun 07, 2015 Mitzi rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this one - I liked how he included most of the Clark family in the story, rather than just George and William (those two did get the most pages though, for sure). They really were an extraordinary family! I thought the end was a little abrupt - the book was already long I guess... Overall a great read!
Jan 29, 2009 Marilyn rated it it was amazing
A great account of the Louis and Clark Expedition (The Expeditionary Force). They found the Northwest Passage to the Pacific Ocean. I enjoyed reading about how much the Indians helped them. Also, the book told about William Clark's famous brothers, and their contributions to the Revolutionary War (two or three were generals).
Jun 30, 2008 Alison rated it really liked it
This author wrote one of my favorite books (Follow the River), which is what led me to read this book initially. However, I also wanted to learn more about the Lewis and Clark expedition and the exploration of the United States. Fascinating to get a glimpse of what went into mapping out the United States.
Jul 29, 2007 Lori rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: if you like American history...
I'm about half way through this one right now. Tells of John and Ann Rogers Clark and their children. The battle with the Brittish to gain freedom from the monarchy, Indian/American wars, and the founding of Kentucky. Good stuff.
Finished! Good book, love the historical fiction type stories...
Aug 21, 2008 Megan rated it really liked it
Great historical fiction about the Clark family (like Lewis and Clark). I especially liked the side story of Clark's older brother. This is another big one, but totally worth the read if you're interested in American colonial/revolutionary times.
Mar 05, 2010 Audrey rated it it was amazing
The best historical novel I've ever read. James Alexander Thom develops his characters until you feel you know them intimately. I learned more about the Revolutionary War from this book than I ever did in a classroom. Highly recommended!
Aug 14, 2008 Rae rated it really liked it
An absorbing historical narrative about John and Ann Rogers Clark and their ten sons and daughters, including the famed William Clark of the Lewis and Clark team. An amazing family and an incredible time period in which to live.
Mar 09, 2009 Jillyn rated it it was amazing
Stoked about this book! It is about the founding of our nation and the lewis and clark expedition. It was written by the same author that wrote Follow the River, so you know it is going to be good!
Denise Kushner
Jan 13, 2012 Denise Kushner rated it it was amazing
I have read this book over and over and the beginning lines never fail to pull me right back into the story! What a family the Clarks were, and what a great book this is!
Feb 09, 2009 Tabatha rated it really liked it
A great historical fiction that tells the Lewis and Clark story from a more personal view. It includes their families and interactions leading up to their journey.
Apr 04, 2008 Kelli rated it it was amazing
Been a while since I read it. I remember it being about the Lewis and Clark expedition. Might have been about the whole Clark family. They were an incredible family!
R.E. Long
Oct 12, 2011 R.E. Long rated it it was amazing
One of the best book of all times. A must read! The characters are more amazing when put into the perspective of the fact they are real people, making real history.
Feb 27, 2008 Marnie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: history buffs
I love any books from this time period-fiction or true. Learning some of the history of exploration of the United States was so captivating.
Justin Van eaton
Oct 14, 2013 Justin Van eaton rated it really liked it
Excellent. Great telling of Lewis and Clark's journey. Definitely some poetic license taken, but no altering of the actual history.
Sep 17, 2008 Jamie rated it it was amazing
historical fiction about the clark family and their trip to the ohio area and clarks subsequent lewis and clark expedition
Mar 20, 2008 Deborah rated it it was amazing
I loved getting to know this historical American family. They were involved in a great deal of our country's history. I loved it!
Jan 09, 2010 Gerianne rated it it was amazing
Great telling of the lives of the members of all the Clark family up to and including the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Jun 10, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing
one of my very favorite books. historical fiction. about the lewis and clark family and expedition west.
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James Alexander Thom (born 1933) is an American author, most famous for his works in the Western genre. Born in Gosport, Indiana, he graduated from Butler University and served in the United States Marine Corps. He is a former professor of journalism at Indiana University, and a contributor to the The Saturday Evening Post. His fifth wife, Dark Rain Thom was a member of the Shawnee United Remnant ...more
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“But then he remembered what George had told him about pain. You know what you can do, even if your body says quit. It's only pain.

"It's only pain, he thought, hearing George's voice and seeing his eagle-face. If anyone would know, George would, he thought. And truly, he thought, it's the most useful one thing a body can know.”
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