Book Review: Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, And The Opening Of The American West by Stephen Ambrose
For anyone who loves the American West, Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose is a must read. Any non-fiction novel written by a bestselling author that was a #1 New York Times Bestseller should be on your radar. The epic journey of Lewis and Clark is one of the greatest adventures of all time. This is the story that opened the American West and it deserves to be read.
Ambrose paints the picture of Lewis and Clark’s exploration of the Louisiana Purchase and the quest to find a waterway to the Pacific. Join Lewis, Clark, Sacajawea, and the Corp of Discovery as they head up the Missouri River into unexplored Indian territory in search of the Northwest Passage. They travel up and over the Rocky Mountains down the Columbia River all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Then they head back. It’s the adventure of a lifetime and during their multi year trek only one man died.
The expedition explores a wild country that is now present day Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. They literally drew the first maps of this mountain region. Imagine having that opportunity in today’s modern world. This is a tale that should make any mountain enthusiast jealous. Plus, during their journey, they take the time to document the tribes, the animals, the rivers, the plants, the geology, and so much more.
Undaunted Courage goes well beyond just the legend of Lewis and Clark. This historical biography lays the groundwork of Lewis’s rise through the political world of the early United States, documents his exploration of the American West, and ends with his untimely demise. It details the life of Meriwether Lewis and tells the story that paves the way for the American West.
Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage is beautifully written and extremely detailed. This is an action tale that every mountain enthusiast and history buff will enjoy, but it is a historical tome. While I read it for pleasure, I imagine this book is also at home in university courses across the country. The story is fascinating and well worth reading, but it wasn’t a page turner that I couldn’t put down.
Take a minute and think about the the magnitude of what Lewis and Clark accomplished. Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose allows any reader to retrace the footsteps of one of the greatest exploration of all time. If you have the time to read this book, you won’t regret it.
FYI – This book is a great choice if you’re going to spend a lot of time in a tent. Here are a few other book recommendations for your next expedition.