Stephen Ambrose (Undaunted Courage)

In the book ‘Undaunted Courage’, Stephen Ambrose provides readers with detailed description of the Lewis and Clark expedition and its significance for American history. The author underlines that the Lewis and Clark expedition was the best example of courage and bravery, thirst for discoveries and traveling. The book consists of 40 chapters devoted to different periods of their journey and problems faced by the explorers.

Also, Ambrose includes maps and photographs which help readers to follow Lewis and Clark and understand significance of their journey through Native American lands.Stephen Ambrose gives a detailed analysis of the epoch and political situation in America, its economic and social development during the Jefferson era (p. 52). These facts help to unveil importance of the expedition for American nation and the state. The main idea of the book is that Lewis and Clark made a great contribution to American history exploring new lands and Indians groups, describing their values and traditions, conditions of life and natural resources. Lewis was a real leader, quiet, resourceful, and endowed with splendid qualities of leadership. The young man’s ambition was, therefore, quickly gratified.

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Lewis, with Jefferson’s sanction, associated with himself as a co-equal William Clark, another young Virginian, and his special friend, then living near Louisville, Kentucky (p. 60-61). Ambrose argues that the expedition had a great impact on cultural relations between Americans and Indians, their economic and social relations.With practically no precedents to guide them, the leaders worked out their own salvation. The Lewis and Clark expedition changed the West and helped Americans to establish economic relations with native Indians.

The story of their trip, from its beginning at St. Louis in May, 1804, until its end there, over twenty-eight months later, gives a detailed account of all events and problems they were faced during expedition. Ambrose argues that Lewis and Clark marked a new era in American history, its economic and cultural life. The task of the expedition was to find the water route to the Pacific. In spite of the fact that Lewis and Clark did not find the water route, they explored virgin and primeval lands, described the tribes of Indians, their cultures and traditions. Ambrose argues that this expedition was one of the keystones of American explorations (p. 406-407).

It extended over a period so long that the party was given up as lost; it covered a vast area of wholly new and unknown territory; it comprehended within its scope the amusing, the pathetic, the serious, the commonplace, the patriotic.I like this book because it describes courage and hardship, human dignity and enormous desire of men to survive. The main advantage of this book is careful analysis of documentary sources, maps and photographs, and unbiased descriptions of events and facts. Ambrose gives careful analysis of the expedition, lives of people and their historical role. This book allows me to identify the main trends in historical development and social environment which supported and favored geographical expansion and its meaning for American nation and Native Indians.

ReferencesAmbrose, S.E. (1996). Undaunted Courage. Simon & Schuster.

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