Synopses & Reviews
The 19th century American West was a place to dream about and migrate to, but speculation ended after visitors crossed the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. What lay before them was a vast landscape of brawny rivers, arid plains, jagged mountains and other extreme natural conditions. This formidable environment forced people to quickly adapt, or fail. One man who made extraordinary adjustments to these challenges was Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, the son of frontier couple Sacagawea (Shoshone) and Toussaint Charbonneau (Metis). He also was the adopted son of William Clark, co-leader of the great Lewis and Clark expedition. Contradictions haunted Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, a man of both Anglo and Indian worlds. He was raised in Clark's affluent, powerful domain and spent six years in a European kingdom, but after returning to America he unaccountably chose to live and work in the wilderness. How and why did this educated, courtly man thrive among rugged, violent, unlearned adventurers and omnipresent danger? What were his remarkable, significant historical accomplishments? The text tracks him over two-thirds of the American continent and places him in several major events. Along the way the extraordinary life-long relationship between the Charbonneau family and Clark is fully developed. The author reflects throughout the narrative on the complexities Jean Baptiste and others faced in the American West. Followers of Lewis and Clark, the Charbonneau family and the American West from 1805-1866 will enjoy revelations about Charbonneau's life and times. "History at its Best This informative and pleasurable read about Charbonneau, the much loved baby "Pomp" on the Corps of Discovery, puts a face on the man that went on to become successful in the charted but yet untamed West in his own right." Maggie Starr "I Enjoyed it I'm giving it five stars. I liked the book precisely because it skips the minutia and focuses on important historical elements. I also appreciated the author's effort to engage the reader in reasonable supposition about Baptiste's undocumented activities." Mary McDonnell "Overall, the author has done a superb job of researching the life of this larger-than-life historical figure, and has brought us a wonderful account of his exploits and adventures." Dr. David P. Diaz "This is the best book about Jean Baptiste I have read. There is not a lot of wild speculation to fill in the gaps of written record... I find this book a "must read" for anyone interested in the real Jean Baptiste Charbonneau." Chuck Charbonneau "This is the epic story of an extraordinary American, not fully revealed until now." Dr. Larry M. Stewart "Great reading A thoroughly enjoyable and authentic record of part of our American history. A man's mark that makes this record a deeply memorable one." Alice Cano The book has been purchased by the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, university libraries, museums, historical societies, public libraries, bookstores and scholars.