Books by Mississippi Writers 1996-2010
Nonfiction by Stephen E. Ambrose Simon & Schuster (Hardcover, $30.00, ISBN: 0684811073, 3/1996) For decades, biographer Ambrose had nursed an ambition to chronicle the "Corps of Discovery," as Lewis and Clark styled their ventures. Hitherto detained by opuses on Ike, Nixon, and D-Day, Ambrose here loosens the reins to his admiration of the duo's fearlessness and skill in braving the unknown, an exploration of which had sunk into obscurity in the 1800s but has since ascended to iconic status in American history. Framed as a biography of Lewis, this work relies heavily on both Lewis' and Clark's famed journals, backed up by the author's personal travels along the Missouri River route from St. Louis to the Pacific. A stimulating tour guide, Ambrose paces the mundane so well with the unusual that readers will be entranced. Not content as a mere recorder of deeds, Ambrose often pauses to assess the military leadership of the explorers, how they negotiated with the Mandan, Sioux, or Nez Perce, and what they reported to Jefferson. Ambrose's epic, a combination of rhapsody and reality, feels like a final glimpse at a pristine Eden before the crowd of trappers and settlers altered it forever. The book clubs are also agog over this, so prepare for many requests. ―Gilbert Taylor. Copyright © 1996, American Library Association. All rights reserved.