THIS VAST LAND by Stephen E. Ambrose


A Young Man’s Journal of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
Age Range: 12 & up
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Though Lewis and Clark and several others kept journals on the famous 1803 journey, this is not one of them. It’s the fictional account of George Shannon, a real (and the youngest) member of the expedition. His story opens with him talking Captain Lewis into letting him go, and the narrative proceeds with all of the expected characters and events in their place, but with little drama. The actual journals are the reason we know so much about the famous trek, but it’s not the best way of dramatizing the story. By segmenting the epic voyage into a series of fictitious journal entries, Ambrose loses the grand sweep of events, and no introduction or afterword provides a context. The main interest is in the epilogue, where the narrator reflects, 30 years later, on lessons learned on the expedition and progress the country has made since then. Not the first choice among the many new books on the subject. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-689-86448-5
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2003