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From Sea to Shining Sea
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From Sea to Shining Sea

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  1,943 ratings  ·  142 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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Lynell Wolff Actually Thom does thorough research so the historical content is as accurate as one would find in nonfiction. Follow the River is based on a real…moreActually Thom does thorough research so the historical content is as accurate as one would find in nonfiction. Follow the River is based on a real person's experience. Because conversation and other unknowable information has to be supplied it is considered fiction. From Sea to Shining Sea is also accurate regarding the genealogy, dates, and events surrounding the Clark/Rogers families. It isn't for the squeamish to be sure. I would never label it erotica.(less)

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Average rating 4.28  · 
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 ·  1,943 ratings  ·  142 reviews

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Nov 15, 2008 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 wo
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 po
Aug 24, 2008 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.
Dec 16, 2008 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
Mary Choate
Jan 16, 2009 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 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 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.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was totally involved in this book. I started it mostly because I heard from our Lewis and Clark guide, the late Bob Gatten, that it is what first got him interested in Lewis and Clark.
Then I put the book down because it started with what I viewed as a hokey point of view- something like the journal of William Clark's mother writing about how her children were the real founding fathers (and mothers) of the US. On my trip to Montana this summer I started again with the intention of pushing
Lona Manning
Apr 26, 2017 added it
Recommends it for: American history buffs
This book gripped me from the first page and all the way to the end. Based on the true story of a pioneering American family. The adventures and travails of George Rogers, especially, are inspiring and amazing.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Author lives in Bloomington Indiana, taught journalism at IU. Great book!
Apr 05, 2009 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
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
wow. this is a story that will stay in my heart for as long as I live. I have nothing to contribute to the reviews because a lot of you have already said it. I now have a deep love and respect for the long passed hero's of america. this was an incredible journey and for the first time in my life I can say I am proud to live in the United states. there is so much rich and beautiful history here that goes unnoticed. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Jun 30, 2008 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.
Aug 10, 2012 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 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).
Mar 15, 2010 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.
Marlene Koslowsky
Aug 04, 2008 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 04, 2010 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!
Megan Martin
Aug 21, 2008 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.
May 02, 2007 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 17, 2008 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!
Mar 27, 2008 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.
Feb 27, 2008 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.
Julie Mauck
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Couldn't put it down :). Learned a great deal about the real people behind the Lewis & Clark expedition.
Justin Van eaton
Oct 14, 2013 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.
Apr 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If you like history, this is an excellent read.
Jan 25, 2009 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!
Jan 09, 2010 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.
Feb 09, 2009 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.
Jun 10, 2008 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
“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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