From Sea To Shining Sea by James Alexander Thom
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Another book in my library that probably warrants a re-read. When this book was released in 1986, I was enjoying a lot of historical novels of the type that were good at making history come alive, and seem like the rip-roaring adventure it was when it actually happened. This was one of my favorite books at that time. It’s the story of the Clark family of Virginia, and is a tribute to Ann Rogers Clark and her husband, John, and the 10 children they raised during a pivotal point in our nation’s history, the American Revolution. The first third of the book deals with their contribution to the Revolution, and the rest of the book chronicles the long, arduous Lewis & Clark Expedition. Folks, you may think you know the story of Lewis & Clark, but if all you know are the dry bones facts you learned in school, believe me…you don’t know much. Thom’s book brings this extraordinary adventure to life in a remarkable fashion, and you will be astounded at what the day to day hardships involved. You’ll never think about history the same way, once you’ve read this. It’s like going along on the trip, yourself. Except without the pain and suffering, of course.
If you are a fan of revisionist history, or likely to be offended by an honest retelling of what the people of that bygone time felt about westward expansion and their relationships with native Americans along the way, don’t bother. Right or wrong, this book tells it like it was, both the good parts and the not so good. I happen to feel it’s important to understand these things as they occurred, influenced by the political climate of the day, and not necessarily how we would view some things today. Whether you agree with the purpose of expanding our nation from sea to shining sea or not, Thom will give you a very clear sense of how it felt to be part of that movement. For myself, I don’t know how in the world these men ever had the courage to strike out into the unknown, with no idea at all what was lying in store for them, or where they would end up. It’s utterly amazing.
An extraordinary tale, and so worth the read.
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