SACAJAWEA

THE JOURNEY WEST

This latest addition to the Drawing America series tells the story of Lewis and Clark's young native guide, Sacajawea. When Sacajawea, Shoshoni Indian girl, is captured by raiders, it will be years before she is reunited with her tribe. Her new life with the Minnetaree is that of a slave. She remains in this situation for three years until she is sold to a French-Canadian fur trader. Raphael and Bolognese (Donkey, It's Snowing, 1981, etc.) then write that she is married at 13 to the trader, but not how she responds to these new circumstances. When a group of explorers headed by Lewis and Clark need a Shoshoni translator, they hire Sacajawea. The journey to her village is full of hardship, yet Sacajawea ``did not complain.'' She treats the men's wounds, finds food for them, and mends their clothing—all without a grumble. The eventual meeting between Sacajawea and her tribe is a success. Her brother, now chief, promises to supply the expedition with much-needed horses. Although she has finally come home, Sacajawea will not remain in her village. She decides that there is still the great ocean for her to see. This superficial version of Sacajawea's story is devoid of feeling, although the drawing lesson at the end adds a creative touch that the narrative lacks. (Biography/Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-590-47898-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1994

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An admirable, warts-and-all history of a milestone in environmental preservation.

EMPIRE OF SHADOWS

THE EPIC STORY OF YELLOWSTONE

The story of a national park might seem a niche subject, but OnEarth magazine editor Black (Casting a Spell: The Bamboo Fly Rod and the American Pursuit of Perfection, 2006, etc.) surrounds it with a colorful, stormy, often-distressing history of our northern mountain states.

The author begins with Lewis and Clark, whose 1804–06 expedition passed nearby but brought back only rumors of odd geological events. The northern Rockies remained a backwater for another half-century. Almost no one but fur traders took an interest for the first 30 years; wagon trains pouring west after 1840 passed well to the south. By the 1850s gold mining and ranching produced settlers, quickly followed by the Army, both anxious to eliminate the Indians. Black provides painful details of 20 years of conflict that accomplished this goal. Lacking gold or good grazing, the Yellowstone area attracted few settlers, but visitors brought back tales of wondrous geysers, boiling springs and breathtaking scenery. In 1869 the small, privately funded Cook-Folsom-Peterson Expedition produced such a tantalizing report that Montana residents organized a large expedition. That expedition spent a month exploring, resulting in a torrent of publicity that led to the federally funded Hayden Geological Survey of 1871. Its enthusiastic report included historical photographs by William Henry Jackson and paintings by Thomas Moran, and the resulting publicity persuaded Congress to create the world’s first national park in 1872. Congress did not, however, provide money, so vandalism, poaching and commercial exploitation flourished until 1886 when the Army moved in. It did not leave until the new National Park Service took over in 1918.

An admirable, warts-and-all history of a milestone in environmental preservation.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-38319-0

Page Count: 576

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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THE HORSE THAT LEAPS THROUGH CLOUDS

A TALE OF ESPIONAGE, THE SILK ROAD, AND THE RISE OF MODERN CHINA

A complicated, ambitious travel adventure through modern Inner Asia, tracing the 1906–08 trek by a Russian spy commissioned by Tsar Nicholas II.

The account of the secretive two-year journey undertaken by Baron Gustaf Mannerheim was not published until 1940, when it was highly admired by Hitler. Journalist Tamm (Beyond the Outer Shores: The Untold Odyssey of Ed Ricketts, the Pioneering Ecologist Who Inspired John Steinbeck and Joseph Campbell, 2004, etc.) only discovered Mannerheim’s Across Asia from West to East recently, and embarked on his trip in 2006 to retrace the baron’s arduous ethnographic journey through the last years of the Qing Dynasty, when modern currents were eradicating the old order—not unlike the cataclysmic changes shaking China to this day. In 1906, Russia was reeling from its humiliating defeat by Japan in the Russo-Japanese War, and enlisted Mannerheim, an officer in the Imperial Army, to undertake the mission through the Asian provinces to gather information on all aspects of Chinese reforms, defensive preparations, politics, colonization and the role of the Dalai Lama (whom Mannerheim got to meet), all in preparation for a possible Russian military incursion. Like Mannerheim, Tamm is intensely curious about the role of China on the world stage, and pursues similar questions about what kind of China will emerge from these wrenching attempts at modernization. Tramping from St. Petersburg to Peking proved a mind-boggling trajectory, penetrating myriad ethnic pockets, Mannerheim by caravan, Tamm by airplane, train, bus and car. Each man encountered all manner of suspicious or friendly people, mishaps and illness. Along the way, Tamm read Mannerheim’s diary—“aloof, impersonal and even churlish at times”—to gain a deeper understanding of this singular character. A well-edited work chronicling a truly inspired journey, leaving readers hopeful about Chinese progress as well as full of questions.

 

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58243-734-7

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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