Book Review Analysis of the Journals of Lewis and Clark

Topics: Lewis and Clark Expedition, Meriwether Lewis, Primary source Pages: 3 (1046 words) Published: May 9, 2013
Book Review Analysis
1. General Information
1.A. The title of the book is The Journals of Lewis and Clark. 2.A. The authors are Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, edited by Bernard DeVoto 3.A. The publisher is Houghton Mifflin Company in 1953

4.A. The book is about Lewis and Clark’s personal journals kept over the duration of their exploration of previously unexplored territory. 2. Content Analysis
2.A. In the preface, the editor explains the differences between his and an editor named Thwaites edits of Lewis and Clark’s original journals. He also explains his reasonings behind choosing the parts he cut to make the book more accessible to an average reader. 2.B. The introduction to the journals gives the background story to the expedition. It first explains Jefferson asking the Spanish minister for permission to explore the Missouri river then going through Congress to have a secret mission approved. The said purpose of the expedition explore the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean for the purpose of commerce. 2.C. Individual Chapters

Chapter 1
1. The first chapter begins with Clark waiting for Lewis, who is finishing up business in St. Louis. Once they have set on their journey, they immediately experience bad weather and many party members, mainly of dysentery. One of the boat’s mast breaks, which they later repair. They travel through a couple of French villages but have not encountered Indians, though they are fearful. 2. The main idea of the first chapter is the beginning of a very long exploration and the hardships they are only beginning to face. 3. There is no convincing argument, the chapter could have been more evenly dispersed between Lewis and Clark to show the different viewpoints they both had during the beginning. 4. The journal entries in this chapter all come from Clark.

Chapter 9
1. In this chapter Clark describes at great lengths the big horned animal similar to gazelles that he has found, and mentions many other animals...

References: Bakeless, John. Lewis & Clark: Partners in Discovery. New York: William Morrow b Company, 1947.
DeVoto, Bernard. The Courses of Empire. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1952.
Fanselow, Julie. The Traveler’s Guide to the Lewis and Clark Trail. Helena, MT: Falcon Press, 1994.
5. Impressions
5.A.The thing I liked best about the book was the personal feeling in reading someone’s journals, even though they were very straightforward with very little emotion or personal feeling. The thing I like least about the book was the misspelling and strange abbreviations from the journals. While the editor chose to leave them for the charm, it was often confusing and had to be reread to make sense of it.
5.B. I did not feel a bias because it was a first-hand account of the exploration.
5.C. Three facts I learned were several lashings were given out for things such as stealing whiskey, they recorded the number of animals they killed each day and Indians stole some of their horses.
5.D. The authors are who the textbook is written about, so the journals go more in depth and are on a day to day basis while the textbook covered the purpose of the exploration was more surface.
5.E. I would recommend the book to a someone interested in history, but not as a day to day read because it become monotonous towards the middle and is not a book I would have considered reading for pleasure.
5.F. If I were to write a book on a historical topic, I would chose an aspect of Texas history, like the Battle of Gonzales and the significance of the “Come and Take it” flag.
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