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The Journals of Lewis and Clark

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  3,857 Ratings  ·  150 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
Kindle Edition, 600 pages
Published (first published 1905)
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Did you know Lewis and Clark had a dog with them that went all the way to the Pacific and back?
Oct 21, 2007 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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
Sep 28, 2009 Lostinanovel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bill Palladino
May 08, 2014 Bill Palladino rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Mar 07, 2011 Dominick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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!
Keely *Keelskilo*
Oct 18, 2016 Keely *Keelskilo* rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: real-lifers
These dudes....Seriously.

If you want to know what it takes to survive in the wilderness, read these journals.

I feel like the general sentiment these days is that Lewis and Clark are both stereotypical, ignorant dorks who crossed America just with Sacagewea to help them and that she pretty much did all the heavy lifting for them. That Lewis was the pansy sort of intellectual and Clark the somewhat uneducated but man's man co-captain.

Not true in the slightest.

For one thing, they had 33 companion
Nov 30, 2009 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
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
A long journey from the past and a long journey for reading today. And just as on a long journey, so many experiences, reactions and incidences to recall and describe. Writing something on my thoughts of this book will be impartial at best, so I will just say I am glad I could go along for the ride.
Carol Swain
Nov 08, 2016 Carol Swain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The plains and mountains were thick with animals, buffalo herds as far as the eye could see. Lewis and Clark and their group pretty much killed every animal they came across, and ate or wore it. The Indians stole from them, but ultimately the greatest steal was from the Indians.
George Mickelson
Mar 28, 2014 George Mickelson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 18, 2014 Koroviev rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history

I read the Signets Classics edition, edited by John Bakeless. It is a good edition - with language translated to Modern English and for the time when Lewis and Clarke were together, only one of their entries is presented. Also, the footnotes included by the editor are very interesting.

My main intention in picking up the book was to learn about Lewis's discoveries first-hand, but I didn't find those accounts. I am not sure if Lewis excluded his observations from the journals and noted them elsew
Darren Hawkins
Jul 02, 2014 Darren Hawkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 20, 2015 Bryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing story and perspective. I was given an abbreviated summary during my school history class days on the journey and its ramifications on the future expansion and development of the American nation. Also there are the brief documentaries and public references to Lewis and Clark. But to read the actual and frequent (many times updated daily) words of the two leaders and the human level challenges of their trek, including their party's non stop daily supply gathering, searching for food, na ...more
Sep 11, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in 2002, this is by far the easiest to read version of these Journals, no wonder it was chosen as a National Geographic Adventure book. This version is even more "put together", I believe, than Stephen Ambrose's later version called Undaunted Courage. This book more directly focuses on the day to day adventure of the journey, and does not pretend to discuss the whirling politics of the time. Will next be reading a rather unabridged version of the journals, Bernard DeVoto, editor, 1953. G ...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
May 12, 2013 Scott Stirling rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 30, 2007 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
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
Feb 10, 2011 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Devin Sixt
Nov 27, 2010 Devin Sixt rated it liked it
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
Jul 07, 2013 Dean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 14, 2014 Brendan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love the source materials. So often I read the stuff in it's translated form from throughout history. But here, oh HERE, I can read Lewis' Americana before Americana even had a name. The grammar and spelling is classic, and the whole thing can easily rival any fiction you might pick up.

I read this along with "Undaunted Courage" by Stephen Ambrose. He did good job at bringing in all the surrounding history, maps, sources, and the journals of the other men who went along on the expedition. But, re
Nov 08, 2007 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 28, 2012 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone - especially those that live in the west
Recommended to John by:
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
Vic Heaney
Jul 07, 2012 Vic Heaney rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
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
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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...

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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
“We were now about to penetrate a country at least two thousand miles in width, on which the foot of civilized man had never trod. The good or evil it had in store for us was for experiment yet to determine, and these little vessels contained every article by which we were to expect to subsist or defend ourselves. However, as the state of mind in which we are, generally gives the coloring to events, when the imagination is suffered to wander into futurity, the picture which now presented itself to me was a most pleasing one. Entertaining as I do the most confident hope of succeeding in a voyage which had formed a darling project of mine for the last ten years, I could but esteem this moment of my departure as among the most happy of my life. (Meriwether Lewis)” 2 likes
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