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Nonfiction Book Review of Undaunted Courage
Undaunted Courage Book

Undaunted Courage

by Stephen Ambrose

One of the more amazing adventures of all time is that of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Undaunted Courage is not only an account of the entire expedition but also details how Lewis and Clark were chosen for the expedition, all the prep work required for the expedition, and the events that occured once they returned to the East. I never realized just how much went into the entire ordeal and it really got me thinking about just how big of a task the preperation alone must have been.

The book is well written and pulls information for many sources. A great deal of the material is direct quotes from the journals of Lewis and Clark themselves. The pieces from these journals gave wonderful insight into the minds of these two explorers. Ambrose also got a lot of material from historic letters of the time, which not only added great insight into other people involved, but were also a fascinating chronical of the political times. One thing I found really interesting that I had never previously thought about was the length of time required for a letter to arrive at its destination. Even discounting today's email, snail mail can arrive across the country in a matter of days, so it is amazing to read that some of the letters required months to get to their destination.

The book was a bit dry in spots, but overall was well written. I found myself having a difficult time getting through some of the less adventurous aspects of the book, like dealing with the political side of things, but these are required to get a full understanding of what the expedition had to endure and work through. Probably my most disappointing section was that after the expedition safely returned. Not only because I knew any exciting stuff was over, but also because it really dwelved into the political side, which I don't have much interest in.

Overall it was a well written book, a fascinating account of history, and arguably one of the most ambitious explorations ever attempted, much less accomplished. Undaunted Courage would without doubt be enjoyed by any history buffs and most fans of exploration.

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