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Exploring Lewis And Clark By Thomas P. Slaughter Analytical Book Review

1026 words - 4 pages

Analytical Book Review 2The book I chose was the Exploring Lewis and Clark by Thomas P. Slaughter. This book was an analytical perspective over the journal entries that Lewis and Clark had written during their expedition west, and also of the men and women who accompanied them along their way. Slaughter's purpose for his book was to broaden the perspective of his readers about Lewis and Clark's expedition; "Exploring Lewis and Clark uses the documentary record of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to different ends than most other books about the men and the event. It considers the meeting between peoples of different races in places that gave those encounters meaning" (Introduction xvii). This excerpt explains the books purpose and gives the reader an idea on what the contents of the book are.Slaughter's thesis explains the significance of the Lewis and Clark expedition west going beneath the traditional narrative of the journey by looking beyond the perspectives of the explorers themselves; " It is about dreams, spirits, myths, writing, and history…It is about time, place, and spirituality. It is about naming, discovery, and being an explorer, finding yourself, and losing your way" (Introduction xiii). This excerpt shows Slaughters direction with his thesis and also gives the reader an idea on the parameters of the expedition by Lewis and Clark.Slaughter did an amazing job proving his thesis through the means that he listed in the previous excerpt. Slaughter took an interesting approach to his book by starting it off as a dream. It is unclear as to whose dream it is but Slaughter used great description and imagery to paint a picture of the dream for his reader's minds. The dream then turned into a reality as he brought his reader to the present moment. The story began to take form with Lewis and Clark coming out from a spiritual journey that their Indian friends had them participate in.Slaughter talked about how imperative it was for all explorers to be the first to discover something. It's equivalent in importance to traveling to Mecca for Muslims. "The discovery must be cast as a first. Winning defines the explorer who always finds something new. Pilgrims seek the old and familiar. Travelers report on the strange or forgotten. An explorer discovers the unknown" (27). Slaughter goes into detail about Lewis and Clark's motive for the journey. What they wanted was to be the first explorers west and to go down in history for it (which they accomplished). They weren't exactly the first to make it west, which I learned while reading this book; "The Canadian Alexander Mackenzie had already made the trip a decade before Lewis and Clark, and got his account into print two years before their journey began" (38). Mackenzie's book however was the reason behind why Jefferson started an expedition that did the same thing.Slaughter did a really great job with his facts and also taught me something new. I never knew that there were other people who had...

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