When Thomas Jefferson pulled the trigger on the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and literally doubled the size of the United States in a single transaction, he had Congress appropriate funds to finance an expedition named the Corps of Discovery to map and explore the vast unknown wilderness that he had bought. Jefferson chose U.S. Army Captain and personal friend Meriwether Lewis to lead the expedition. Lewis, in turn, picked U.S. Army Lieutenant William Clark as his aide, though Lewis shared the leadership of the expedition with Clark on an even keel despite Clark's lower rank.
On August 31, 1803, the Lewis & Clark expedition left Pittsburgh to seek a waterway passage from the East to the Pacific Ocean. The ensuing cross-country trek was fraught with hardship and sacrifice, but was ultimately successful after they found the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Columbia River in modern day Oregon. Historian Stephen E. Ambrose chose to mainly center this fascinating book on the activities of Meriwether Lewis, but used the journals of both Lewis and Clark to research this book. Thoughtfully written in an accessible style that helps keep the pages turning, this history can be read for both research and pleasure.
Submitted by Dan @ Central