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Undaunted Courage by Stephan Ambrose
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Not a fly fishing book, but rather the historical account of Lewis and Clark as they made their incredible journey up the Missouri River over the Rockies and then to the mouth of the Columbia River.

I had learned about their journey in school, as we all did, and even saw a one hour National Geo Special.

Nothing compares the details that are described in the book. The book is based on the journals of both Lewis and Clark starting with Jefferson as he begin to envision the need for the exploration and how it all got started.

Not to give anything away, but these guys were incredible. Paddling 3,000 miles on a river...upstream. Living in tents and little tree cabins for months of the winter with snow and temperatures below zero. They would jump out of the canoes start hiking and tell the remaining crew I'll just meet you 30 or so miles upstream...you know that fork in the water where no one has ever been before.

Hell I can't go to work without turning on my GPS!

If you are big into the outdoors, like history and enjoy reading books that put you in your place, go check it out.

Undaunted Courage by Stephan Ambrose

Posted on: 2010/12/17 14:15


Re: Undaunted Courage by Stephan Ambrose

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A friend of mine who's a student of history points out that one of the reasons we are able to effectively plot their journey is the heavy metal content of the poop left behind.

Dr. Ben Rush proscribed mercury pills to them to help stave off diesease. They had no actual medical benefit, but their benefit to history has been massive.

And now you know!

Posted on: 2010/12/17 16:02
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Re: Undaunted Courage by Stephan Ambrose

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Dave- excellent book.

As I read along, I imagned what it would have been like to be out in the vast uncharted wildernes along with them. Amazed that they could navigate out there.

The keelboat that was used for their journey was built in Pittsburgh, PA by a drunkard.

Another decent Ambrose book-
Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869 Learned alot about the people that built it and the brazen greed and corruption of the men who ran the comapnies that built it.

These types of books I enjoy a great deal. Both outdoors and history.

Two other outdoorsy books I could really recommend-

The Last Season by Eric Blehm A true life story/mystery of a National Park Service ranger in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains. Good read- had me wanting to pick it up till I was done.

A Walk in the Woods- by Bill Bryson A writer Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail.

Light and humorus reading. This book was the first of many I read on the AT. This book insipred me to hike the AT. I hiked 270 miles (states of NC and TN) during the spring of 2001. Some strange and really interesting people I met on that trail- it's like a cult.

Some pictures from my travels in Montana relating to Corp of Discovery saga. The Beaverhead rock outcrop would be a veritable needle in the haystack. (click on pics to make them large enough to read and see) The Big Hole Valley was awesome beauty. In addition to the Lewis and Clark journey; the Big Hole Valley was the scene of a famous Nez Perce indian battle against the US Army.

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jpg  Beaverheadexplanation.jpg (617.21 KB)
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jpg  Beaverhead.jpg (640.29 KB)
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jpg  MT.jpg (702.51 KB)
772_4d0be0fd94959.jpg 2150X1613 px

Posted on: 2010/12/17 17:17
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Re: Undaunted Courage by Stephan Ambrose
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Health wise it was no cake walk either. The Rush pills they took literally cleaned them out and they took them for every aliment they had. Plenty of gastrointestinal and digestive issues along the way. They must have had scurvy most of time as all they ate was meat for months on end. Too top it off most of them had picked up syphilis from before the trip or while on the journey at one of the Indian camps.

Posted on: 2010/12/20 20:21


Re: Undaunted Courage by Stephan Ambrose
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No doubt - "Undaunted" is a wonderful book. Really, anything by Stephen Ambrose is a great read. One of my favorites is Crazy Horse and Custer.

Dkile,
I just finished The Big Burn. You were right, another great read. While I was familiar with the relationship between Pinchot and TR, I didn't realise how close it was and how influential Pinchot was on TR. Nor was I aware of the massive forest fire. Amazing story.

Posted on: 2010/12/20 22:13


Re: Undaunted Courage by Stephan Ambrose

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The Post-Gazette agrees, you give good internet.



Reading material for the new year
Sunday, December 26, 2010
By Scott Shalaway

As we head into a new year, nothing beats a good book by the wood stove on a cold winter night. Here are some recent classics I recommend:

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West (Simon & Schuster 1996) by Stephen Ambrose and Our Natural History: the Lessons of Lewis and Clark (Grosset/Putnam, 1995) by Daniel Botkin. Both describe life and nature along the Missouri River and beyond as it was circa 1804.

Nothing Like It in the World: the Men who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869 (Simon & Schuster, 2000) by Stephen Ambrose describes a monumental overland engineering feat. It may not seem like a big deal today, but imagine building a railroad across the Rockies in the 1860s.

The Path Between the Seas: the Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914 (Simon & Schuster, 1977) by David McCullough is an awesome tale of man vs. nature.

The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009) by Timothy Egan explains how the biggest forest fire in American history led to the conservation of wild lands.

Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators (Bloomsbury, 2008) by William Stolzenburg offers superlative explanations of the role of natural predators, from starfish and sea otters to wolves and killer whales.

Winter World: the Ingenuity of Animal Survival (Harper Collins, 2003) by Bernd Heinrich explains how everything from kinglets and frogs to bears and butterflies survive the big chill.

No Way Home: The Decline of the World's Great Animal Migrations (Island Press, 2008) by David S. Wilcove examines how farming, uncontrolled harvests, urbanization, highways and cell towers threaten the world's long-distance migrants.

Nature Journaling: Learning to Observe and Connect with the World Around You (Storey Books, 1998) by Claire Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth is a how-to manual for observing the natural world.

A Tribute to Roger Latham: Sportsman, Conservationist, Educator, Scientist, Author, Photographer, Naturalist, Friend and Gentle Man (Carlisle Printing, 2009) by Ann Jenkins is a terrific remembrance of a man best known locally for his work as outdoors editor of The Pittsburgh Press.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10360/1113062-358.stm#ixzz19FzzNIpI

Posted on: 2010/12/26 16:56
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Re: Undaunted Courage by Stephan Ambrose
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Yes the Big Burn was very good too.

Most all of these are stories you kind of knew about as a kid and were just glossed over at that age. I think we spent fifteenth minutes talking about the purpose of the Lewis and Clark in 10th grade. A very different story when you take 20 some hours to talk about the details.

As an adult the realities of these endeavors become almost unimaginable in our world today. Don't remember Mr. Goode my history teacher telling us how much Lewis really enjoyed dog meat over elk.

Still looking for my next book.

Posted on: 2011/1/5 7:00






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