Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Books on Tape

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Books on Tape

Article excerpt

"UNDAUNTED COURAGE"

A history by Stephen E. Ambrose

(4 1/2 hours, abridged, Simon & Schuster Audio, $25)

In this day of the interstate highway system, the opening of the American West seems little more than a romantic phrase. It's hard to imagine the courage and intestinal fortitude it took to make the round trip from the mouth of the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean at the beginning of the 19th century.

At that time, the only known routes through the wilderness were the rivers. So when Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out on their expedition to explore Thomas Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase, they had no path to follow and no idea what to expect, outside of the anticipated hard time they might receive from the native nations. After all, the indigenous population had been residing on this huge chunk of property for centuries and had no idea that their land had been sold out from under them by foreign powers.

On April 30, 1803, with one stroke of the pen and $15 million, Jefferson had acquired from Napoleon enough land to double the size of the United States. Naturally, he wanted to know what he bought and whether there was a water route to the Pacific. As a result, he enlisted Lewis, his private secretary, to lead the expedition of discovery.

In this engaging tale, the author has pieced together previously unknown information to describe this incredible journey by the explorers. At the same time, he manages to flesh out Lewis as an intellectual. He also presents psychological and emotional aspects of the man, but it's left to the listeners to form their own opinion as to Lewis' dimension.

Cotter Smith is the narrator, but the introduction and epilogue are read by the author, a real bonus in this case.

Simon & Schuster Audios can be found in bookstores.

*****

"BEHIND THE LINES"

A novel by W.E.B. Griffin

(18 hours, unabridged, Brilliance Bookcassettes, $27.95)

This fast-paced action novel about the Marine Corps in World War II benefits greatly from the reading talents of Dick Hill. …

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