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William Clark and the Shaping of the Westby Landon Y Jones
Synopses & Reviews
Between 1803 and 1806, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark co-captained the most famous expedition in American history. But while Lewis ended his life just three years later, Clark, as the highest-ranking Federal official in the West, spent three decades overseeing its consequences: Indian removal and the destruction of Native America. In a rare combination of storytelling and scholarship, best-selling author Landon Y. Jones presents for the first time Clark's remarkable life and influential career in their full complexity.
Like every colonial family living on Virginia's violent frontier, the Clarks killed Indians and acquired land; acting on behalf of the United States, William would prove successful at both. Clark's life was spent fighting in America's fifty-year running war with the Indians (and their European allies) over the Western borderlands. The struggle began with his famed brother George Roger's western campaigns during the American Revolution, continued through the vicious battles of the War of 1812, and ended with the Black Hawk War in the 1830s. In vividly depicting Clark's life, Jones memorably captures not only the dark and bloody ground of America's early West, but also the qualities of character and courage that made him an unequalled leader in America's grander enterprise: the shaping of the West. No one played a larger part in that accomplishment than William Clark.
William Clark and the Shaping of the West is an unforgettable human story that encompasses in a single life the sweep of American history from colonial Virginia to the conquest of the West.
"Famous for his exploits as part of the fabled Lewis and Clark expedition, but long overshadowed by the ill-fated Lewis, William Clark (1770-1838) spent the better part of his life playing a key role in America's expansion into the territory he had eagerly scouted. Using newly available archival materials, Jones (Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom), former managing editor at People and vice-president of the Council of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial, provides a riveting portrait of the lawlessness and chaos of postrevolutionary life on the American frontier as well as a fast-paced story of Clark's dramatic life. Born into a planter family, Clark grew up in Kentucky, of necessity becoming an expert marksman. By the age of 24, Clark had served as a lieutenant in various Indian wars throughout Kentucky and the territories that later became Ohio and Illinois. After the expedition with Lewis, Clark resumed his military career, overseeing the expropriation of Indian lands by treaty and war — a task for which, in Jones's searingly honest portrait, Clark showed no compunction. Clark was unafraid to kill Native Americans mercilessly in order to demonstrate his power and the power and determination of his country. As Jones indicates, by the time Clark died he had 'supervised the removal of 81,282 Indians from the eastern United States to the western side of the Mississippi.' Jones's spirited and balanced biography is likely to tarnish the image of one of America's celebrated heroes. 16 pages of b&w illus., maps, not seen by PW. (May 24)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A stirring, often inspiring account of a life well lived." Booklist
"A readable, welcome contribution in this bicentennial of the Corps of Discovery's transcontinental journey." Kirkus Reviews
"Jones's research and writing are excellent; he cites an extensive bibliography and puts it to work in very thorough endnotes. He does an excellent job of describing the broader picture and placing Clark the man, not Clark the myth, in the context." Library Journal
Between 1803 and 1806 Meriwether Lewis and William Clark captained the fabled expedition across the North American continent. While Lewis ended his life just three years later, Clark, as the highest ranking federal official in the West, spent three decades overseeing its consequences: Indian removal and the destruction of Native America. In a rare combination of storytelling and scholarship, a bestselling author presents for the first time Clark's remarkable life and influential career in their full complexity.
About the Author
Landon Jones was managing editor at People magazine for eight years and wrote and edited for Life, Time, Money, and People for thirty-seven years; and is currently vice president of the National Council of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial. His books include Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom and The Essential Lewis and Clark. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
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