Learn more: Good books about Lewis and Clark

Learn more:

1904 newspaper articles about the construction and dedication of William Clark’s monument in Bellefontaine Cemetery:

  • Five Generations of Explorer’s Family See Unveiling of William Clark Monument. May 4, 1904. Click here to read the article.
  • Granite Shaft in Bellefontaine Perpetuates Memory of William Clark. May 9, 1904. Click here to read the article.

Good books about the life of William Clark*:

  • William Clark: Indian Diplomat, by Jay H. Buckley. This is an excellent book for learning about Clark’s life after the expedition and his time as Indian Affairs superintendent.
  • William Clark: Jeffersonian Man on the Frontier by Jerome O. Steffen. This offers a sweeping view of Clark’s life as a businessman, politician and Indian Affairs superintendent in relation to his times.
  • William Clark and the Shaping of the West by Landon Y. Jones. This very fine work provides a rare combination of storytelling and scholarship.
  • William E. Foley’s Wilderness Journey: The Life of William Clark is a well-balanced look at the life and times of William Clark.
  • To learn about Clark’s early life, prior to the expedition: The Unknown Travels and Dubious Pursuits of William Clark by Jo Ann Tragon. It’s an eye-opening read with surprising discoveries about Clark.

Good books about the Lewis and Clark Expedition*:

  • The Way to the Western Sea: Lewis and Clark Across the Continent by David Lavender. In the opinion of the writer who penned this article about Clark’s monument, this book is at the top of the list of more than 200 books written about the explorers in recent times. It’s easy to read. It provides good interpretation of what happened on the expedition.
  • The Lewis and Clark Expedition Day by Day by Gary E. Moulton. By far, this is the book if you want to read insightful, understandable and accurate descriptions of where the expedition was day by day, starting on May 14, 1804, at Camp Dubois and ending Sept. 23, 1806, in St. Louis.
  • The Definitive Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition edited by Gary E. Moulton. This 13-volume set includes journals kept by Lewis and Clark, as well as other expedition members. It’s for readers who want the nitty-gritty of what the explorers wrote, including the use of some creative punctuations and spellings common in those days. Over the last two centuries, others have tackled editing the journals. None compare to the class and thoroughness that Moulton brings to his editing. The footnotes are invaluable because, among other insights, they let you know where the expedition was on a specific day in relation to modern locations.
  • Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose. Published in 1996, the popular book has helped to increase the public’s enthusiasm for Lewis and Clark. It’s a good introduction to the expedition and highly recommended.
  • Passage Through the Garden by John Logan Allen is an excellent book that focuses on geographic and other knowledge known prior to the expedition, all of which helped Lewis and Clark be successful on their journey.
  • Lewis and Clark Among the Indians by James P. Ronda is a brilliant analysis of the encounters between the explorers and Native Americans.

For traveling along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail*:

  • Adventures Across America: On and Off the Trail of Lewis and Clark. The author, Jennifer White Fischer, recounts her travels by car to Lewis and Clark sites, as well as places of other interests on or near the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Published in 2019, the books is the most recent of travelogues about trail sites to visit. Jennifer’s book is easy to read, and full of interesting information and colorful photographs of Lewis and Clark and non-Lewis and Clark sites.

A good book about the 2003-06 Lewis and Clark Bicentennial*:

  • The River Calls: Commemorating the 200th Anniversary of The Lewis and Clark Expedition by Marcia Tabram Philips. This is a fun, intriguing comparison of what happened on the original expedition and the bicentennial journey of reenactors. With more than 250 photos included, the book compares the trials and tribulations, celebrations, and differences of the two expeditions. It’s an enjoyable read written with a ton of enthusiasm, joy and insights. Well-worth reading!

*Please note: The books cited above are available from online publishers, including Amazon. If you use Amazon, sign up for the Amazon Smile program while on the website, and designate the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation as the nonprofit agency. Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase price to the foundation.