Any person who has a bit of an adventurous spirit will likely enjoy reading our latest book from YWAM’s Heroes of History.
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Meriwether Lewis: Off the Edge of the Map by Janet & Geoff Benge literally had Cuddle Bug on the edge of her seat asking me to read her more. I was only too happy to oblige as I enjoyed the book as much as she did.
The vast majority of Americans know about Lewis and Clark and Sacagawea, but I either didn’t know or had forgotten most of the details of the trip. When Lewis and Clark set off on their expedition, America had just made the Louisiana Purchase, but much of that area was unexplored. Lewis was asked by the then president, Thomas Jefferson, to get all the way to the Pacific Ocean, hopefully by water.
I was fascinated to read about how much red tape and incompetence Lewis had to muddle through before he was even able to start the trip. I also found it laughable that one of the Indian groups told Lewis that it would only take a 1/2 day to get over the Rocky Mountains. Clearly, that was not the case.
While historically, we may look at the Lewis and Clark trip as one grand adventure, the fact is that a lot of it was tedious, difficult, and annoying. The men were constantly bit by mosquitoes, and Lewis, among others, contracted malaria, which affected him for the rest of his life. In addition, their food supply was often severely limited, and they had a few run ins with hostile Indian tribes which could have meant the end of their lives.
For the most part, though, the Indians were very helpful to the expedition, especially the ones such as Sacagawea, who were willing to put their own lives on hold to go with Lewis and Clark and serve as translators.
The book ends with Lewis’ untimely death, but there is a great deal of controversy surrounding it. Was Lewis killed, or did he commit suicide? Cuddle Bug and I were so intrigued that we scoured the Internet to find that there is a movement to have Lewis’ body exhumed to finally put to rest the discussion of suicide or murder, but as of yet, that has not been done.
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.