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This Author: Stephen Ambrose
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Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose

Undaunted Courage

Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West

by Stephen Ambrose

Title Details

Unabridged Edition
Running Time
20 Hrs. 40 Min.
User Rating
  5.0  Stars Based on 3 ratings
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In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson selected his personal secretary, Captain Meriwether Lewis, to lead a voyage up the Missouri River, across the forbidding Rockies, and - by way of the Snake and mighty Columbia - down to the Pacific Ocean. Lewis and his partner, Captain William Clark, endured incredible hardships and witnessed astounding sights. With great perseverance, they worked their way into an unexplored West and when they returned two years later, they had long since been given up for dead.

Undaunted Courage is supported by a variety of colorful characters: Jefferson and his vision of the West; Clark, the artist and mapmaker; and Lewis - the enigma, who led brilliantly but considered the mission a failure. After suffering several periods of depression - and despite his status as national hero - Lewis died mysteriously, apparently by his own hand.

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Reviews & Ratings
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Reviewer J.E.
 February 17, 2006
Undaunted Courage is the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition of the early 1800s. At that time, President Thomas Jefferson was convinced that the previously-unexplored West contained an all-water passageway from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean. He commissioned the Corps of Discovery to try to find that route, and appointed Meriwether Lewis as the expedition's captain. Lewis subsequently hand-picked William Clark as his co-captain. Thus began one of the most illustrious partnerships in American history.

This book is by renowned historian Stephen Ambrose, and is based in large part on the journals kept by the captains during their two-year voyage. Lewis kept very detailed notes during the first portion of the journey, but mysteriously stopped. Luckily, Clark picked up the slack, so we are left with a pretty accurate account of what happened nearly every step of the way.

The best parts of this book are the direct quotes from the captains' journals. From these passages, we get to share in their triumphs, failures, excitement, and despair as they deal with Native Americans, hunt for food, battle the elements, and map America's frontier.

The audiobook is more than 20 hours long, but it is such an incredible story and is so full of dramatic adventures that you barely even notice the time. I usually just listen to audiobooks during my commute, but I found myself wanting to listen to Undaunted Courage all the time. It is definitely a book that you won't be able to put down.

The sound quality of the mp3 files were impeccable. The narrator, Barrett Whitener, did an excellent job while reading the journal passages of conveying the range of emotions that the captains felt.

Overall, I highly recommend the Undaunted Courage audiobook. This is definitely a 5-star book, and one you will probably listen to more than once.

More Details

  • Published: 1996
  • LearnOutLoud.com Product ID: U002514
Available On
Audio CD
20 Discs