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Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of… (1996)

af Stephen E. Ambrose

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MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
6,088661,202 (4.09)125
Though primarily a biography of Meriwether Lewis, this book also provides fascinating sketches of Thomas Jefferson, William Clark, Sacagawea, & other contemporaries. From the bestselling author of the definitive book on D-Day comes the definitive book on the most momentous expedition in American history and one of the great adventure stories of all time. In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson selected his personal secretary, Captain Meriwether Lewis, to lead a voyage up the Missouri River to the Rockies, over the mountains, down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean, and back. Lewis was the perfect choice. He endured incredible hardships and saw incredible sights, including vast herds of buffalo and Indian tribes that had had no previous contact with white men. He and his partner, Captain William Clark, made the first map of the trans-Mississippi West, provided invaluable scientific data on the flora and fauna of the Louisiana Purchase territory, and established the American claim to Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Ambrose has pieced together previously unknown information about weather, terrain, and medical knowledge at the time to provide a colorful and realistic backdrop for the expedition. Lewis saw the North American continent before any other white man; Ambrose describes in detail native peoples, weather, landscape, science, everything the expedition encountered along the way, through Lewis's eyes. Lewis is supported by a rich variety of colorful characters, first of all Jefferson himself, whose interest in exploring and acquiring the American West went back thirty years. Next comes Clark, a rugged frontiersman whose love for Lewis matched Jefferson's. There are numerous Indian chiefs, and Sacagawea, the Indian girl who accompanied the expedition, along with the French-Indian hunter Drouillard, the great naturalists of Philadelphia, the French and Spanish fur traders of St. Louis, John Quincy Adams, and many more leading political, scientific, and military figures of the turn of the century. This is a book about a hero. This is a book about national unity. But it is also a tragedy. When Lewis returned to Washington in the fall of 1806, he was a national hero. But for Lewis, the expedition was a failure. Jefferson had hoped to find an all-water route to the Pacific with a short hop over the Rockies-Lewis discovered there was no such passage. Jefferson hoped the Louisiana Purchase would provide endless land to support farming-but Lewis discovered that the Great Plains were too dry. Jefferson hoped there was a river flowing from Canada into the Missouri-but Lewis reported there was no such river, and thus no U.S. claim to the Canadian prairie. Lewis discovered the Plains Indians were hostile and would block settlement and trade up the Missouri. Lewis took to drink, engaged in land speculation, piled up debts he could not pay, made jealous political enemies, and suffered severe depression. High adventure, high politics, suspense, drama, and diplomacy combine with high romance and personal tragedy to make this outstanding work of scholarship as readable as a novel.… (mere)
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» Se også 125 omtaler

Engelsk (64)  Tysk (2)  Alle sprog (66)
Viser 1-5 af 66 (næste | vis alle)
I have to admit that I scarcely knew anything about the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806) before reading this fine book. Wow! What a loss! While reading one book on the subject does not make one an expert, by any means, this book is an excellent starting point.

Stephen E. Ambrose was a seasoned, gifted writer, who knew how to separate fact from fiction to construct a captivating narrative, which sums up this important work.

The author drew upon the contributions of dozens of fine writers as well as well as primary sources in describing the background of and preparation for the expedition, the expedition itself, and brief period thereafter. Book chapters (there are 40) are largely a detailed chronology of events, and persons and places associated.

In addition to Lewis Meriwether (the main figure) and William Clark, much space is devoted to the role of Thomas Jefferson in the Expedition. But roles and influences of dozens of men and women (including Sacajawea) are included in the work.

The book is enhanced by a number of illustrations and maps, which I found to be very helpful. There is also an extensive bibliography and an excellent index.

Persons interested in the history of the United States of America may wish to put this book on their reading list.

Note: I finished reading the book on October 11, 2020, which strangely happened to be the 211th anniversary of the death of Meriwether Lewis. ( )
  SCRH | Oct 22, 2020 |
“That evening, the first Americans ever to enter Montana, the first ever to see the Yellowstone, the Milk, the Marias, and the Great Falls, the first Americans ever to kill a grizzly, celebrated their nation’s twenty-ninth birthday.”
  taurus27 | May 10, 2020 |
Very good narative of Lewis and Clark expedition with lead-up to it and follow up until Lewis' suicide. Includes good exposure to historical and political backdrop as well as some sociological exploration of slave/white and white/native interaction.
  JohnLavik | Mar 29, 2020 |
A Touchstone bookEx-lib. JCC ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 20, 2020 |
It has been over a decade since I’ve read Ambrose’s Band of Brothers, which still resides in my “Top 5 Books Ever Read” list. This book has been on my to-read list for almost as long, partly because I hail from Nebraska, home of the Oregon and Mormon Trails west, and partly because I now live in St. Louis, home of the Gateway Arch, a monument to America’s westward journey and the fierce spirit which engendered it.
There is no figure who encapsulates so much of the distinctive American spirit as the “pioneer.” Independent. Self-reliant. Adventurous. However, before there was ever a massive westward migration…before the “prairie schooners” sailed the endless grasses of the Great Plains…before there ever was such a thing as a “pioneer family”…there was Meriweather Lewis and William Clark.
Though Ambrose sets out the book as a biography of Lewis, it really is the story of both men and the Corps of Discovery they led from St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia River. You simply cannot write about Lewis without Clark, nor about Lewis and Clark without their defining adventure. As Ambrose relates it, this becomes a story of remarkable friendship and remarkable leadership. What still astounds me, even after finishing the book, is that, prior to their expedition, Lewis had only known Clark for six months. Six. Months.
Ambrose’s telling is rich with personal details from their journals (complete with their, shall we say, “winsome” spellings). He is able to recapture something of that original energy (part enthusiasm, part anxiety) so that the reader feels like they are traveling WITH the adventurers rather than simply reading ABOUT them. That is not to say Ambrose simply “reports” the events; he consistently and quietly guides the reader’s attention to the overlooked detail or the curious turn of phrase that may contain the necessary clue to a mystery of long standing. He even takes stands of his own, particularly in his diagnosis of Lewis as suffering from manic depression. (To be clear: I was not convinced when Ambrose first made his claim but, by the end of the book, he had me persuaded.)
Ambrose also avoids the pitfall of hagiography without critique. He makes plenty of judgments…about the men and about the journey (especially the ill-planned exploration of the Marias River). He does so without losing his genuine admiration for Lewis and for his accomplishments. In this, I feel that perhaps Ambrose’s greatest gift is that he has incarnated the spirit of Jefferson’s relationship to his erstwhile personal secretary and protégé.
Without going into too much detail and robbing the story of its poignancy, the ending of Meriweather Lewis’s story is unexpected and, to be frank, heartbreaking. Ambrose goes to great lengths to explain without excusing, which I deeply appreciated. Greatness often comes at a cost, and men of great achievement can still founder.
Perhaps that’s the real beauty of the story that Ambrose tells, like the stories of Easy Company. He has this ability to find the human stories that both inspire and warn us. He draws for us (in the most enlivened way imaginable) historical figures that simultaneously call us to be like them and better than them. In other words, Ambrose gives us stories not of heroes but of men and women who show us our own capacity for greatness. ( )
  Jared_Runck | Aug 26, 2019 |
Viser 1-5 af 66 (næste | vis alle)
- conveyed with passionate enthusiasm by Mr. Ambrose and sprinkled liberally with some of the most famous and vivid passages from the travelers' journals.
 

» Tilføj andre forfattere (3 mulige)

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Ambrose, Stephen E.primær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Whitener, BarrettReadermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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"Of courage undaunted, possessing a firmness & perseverance of purpose which nothing but impossibilities could divert from it's [sic] direction, careful as a father of those committed to his charge, yet steady in the maintenance of order & discipline, intimate with the Indian character, customs & principles, habituated to the hunting life, guarded by exact observation of the vegetables & animals of his own country, against losing tine in the description of objects already possessed, honest, disinterested, liberal, of sound understanding and a fidelity to truth so scrupulous that whatever he should report would be as certain as if seen by ourselves, with all these qualifications as if selected and implanted by nature in one body, for this express purpose, I could have no hesitation in confiding the enterprise to him."

    
—Thomas Jefferson

      
on Meriwether Lewis
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From the west-facing window of the room in which Meriwether Lewis was born on August 8, 1774, one could look out at Rockfish Gap, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, an opening to the West that invited exploration.
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ISBNs 0671574434 and 0743508084: abridged audiobook read by Cotter Smith. Do not combine the abridged audiobook with the book since they are not the same work.
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Though primarily a biography of Meriwether Lewis, this book also provides fascinating sketches of Thomas Jefferson, William Clark, Sacagawea, & other contemporaries. From the bestselling author of the definitive book on D-Day comes the definitive book on the most momentous expedition in American history and one of the great adventure stories of all time. In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson selected his personal secretary, Captain Meriwether Lewis, to lead a voyage up the Missouri River to the Rockies, over the mountains, down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean, and back. Lewis was the perfect choice. He endured incredible hardships and saw incredible sights, including vast herds of buffalo and Indian tribes that had had no previous contact with white men. He and his partner, Captain William Clark, made the first map of the trans-Mississippi West, provided invaluable scientific data on the flora and fauna of the Louisiana Purchase territory, and established the American claim to Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Ambrose has pieced together previously unknown information about weather, terrain, and medical knowledge at the time to provide a colorful and realistic backdrop for the expedition. Lewis saw the North American continent before any other white man; Ambrose describes in detail native peoples, weather, landscape, science, everything the expedition encountered along the way, through Lewis's eyes. Lewis is supported by a rich variety of colorful characters, first of all Jefferson himself, whose interest in exploring and acquiring the American West went back thirty years. Next comes Clark, a rugged frontiersman whose love for Lewis matched Jefferson's. There are numerous Indian chiefs, and Sacagawea, the Indian girl who accompanied the expedition, along with the French-Indian hunter Drouillard, the great naturalists of Philadelphia, the French and Spanish fur traders of St. Louis, John Quincy Adams, and many more leading political, scientific, and military figures of the turn of the century. This is a book about a hero. This is a book about national unity. But it is also a tragedy. When Lewis returned to Washington in the fall of 1806, he was a national hero. But for Lewis, the expedition was a failure. Jefferson had hoped to find an all-water route to the Pacific with a short hop over the Rockies-Lewis discovered there was no such passage. Jefferson hoped the Louisiana Purchase would provide endless land to support farming-but Lewis discovered that the Great Plains were too dry. Jefferson hoped there was a river flowing from Canada into the Missouri-but Lewis reported there was no such river, and thus no U.S. claim to the Canadian prairie. Lewis discovered the Plains Indians were hostile and would block settlement and trade up the Missouri. Lewis took to drink, engaged in land speculation, piled up debts he could not pay, made jealous political enemies, and suffered severe depression. High adventure, high politics, suspense, drama, and diplomacy combine with high romance and personal tragedy to make this outstanding work of scholarship as readable as a novel.

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