Synopses & Reviews
The first five volumes of the new edition of the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
have been widely heralded as a lasting achievement in the study of western exploration. The sixth volume begins on November 2, 1805, in the second year of Meriwether Lewis and William Clarks epic journey. It covers the last leg of the partys route from the Cascades of the Columbia River to the Pacific Coast and their stay at Fort Clatsop, near the rivers mouth, until the spring of 1806. Travel and exploration, described in the early part, were hampered by miserable weather, and the enforced idleness in winter quarters permitted detailed record keeping. The journals portray the partys interaction with the Indians of the lower Columbia River and the coast, particularly the Chinooks, Clatsops, Wahkiakums, Cathlamets, and Tillamooks. No other volume in this edition has such a wealth of ethnographic and natural history materials, most of it apparently written by Lewis and copied by Clark, and accompanied by sketches of plants, animals, and Indians and their canoes, implements, and clothing.
Incorporating a wide range of new scholarship dealing with all aspects of the expedition, from Indian languages to plants and animals to geographical and historical contexts, this new edition expands and updates the annotation of the last edition, published early in the twentieth century.
"Lewis and Clark loom over the narrative literature of the West as the Rockies loom over the rivers that run through them. These Journals are to the narrative of the American West as the Iliad is to the epic or as Don Quixote is to the novel: a first exemplar so great as to contain in embryo the genre's full potential. The narrative writing about the West that came before Lewis and Clark seems fragmentary and slight; what came after them seems insipid and slight, lacking both the scale and the force of those Journals." Larry McMurtry in the New York Review of Books
"Meticulously edited, with detailed (and absolutely necessary) footnotes, these volumes are a triumph of scholarly publishing....One version or another belongs on most readers' shelves and should accompany any road trip through the West." Atlantic Monthly
"Moulton not only edited the transcriptions of the journal entries; he also provided a detailed index and oversaw a team of consultants who provided expert annotations on botany, zoology, astronomy, archaeology, linguists and medicine. As a result, readers can understand the expedition in its full context. It's no wonder that the series has received many plaudits." Omaha World Herald
About the Author
Gary E. Moulton is Thomas C. Sorensen Professor of American History at the University of Nebraska and recipient of the J. Franklin Jameson Award of the American Historical Association for the editing of these journals.