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Washington Reads (Winter 2004) - Lewis, Clark, and Seaman

This year is the bicentennial of the commencement of the expedition of the Corps of Discovery, commanded by Lewis and Clark. Two centuries later, we can relive a unique American epic because Lewis and Clark recounted in their journals the extraordinary journey to the Pacific Ocean. The book selections for this quarter are based on the historic and unprecedented journey. One can experience through the eyes of Lewis and Clark and others in the Corps, including their dog Seaman, the sense of wonder, the excitement, and the challenges they faced. These books bring the journey to life for us, two hundred years later.

The adult books are from the viewpoint of Lewis and Clark and their men, while the books that will resonate with children and young adults both recount one of the most extraordinary expeditions of all time through the eyes of Captain Lewis’ dog, Seaman.

In Full View

In Full View, by Rex Ziak , is a compelling story about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, describing 30 days from November 7 to December 7, 1805, at the mouth of the Columbia River. The book itself is a work of art. The narration follows the Corps' passage through the lower Columbia, and conveys through narrative, quotes from the journals, maps and exquisite photographs, the danger and excitement of the expedition over one month. It brings to life the sense of despair mixed with final triumph, wrapped in graphics and remarkable photography. Ziak combines his background in photography and cinematography with in-depth research on the environment and history to create an exquisite book that is a "must read" for Washingtonians. (Adult)

The Lewis and Clark Journals: An American Epic of Discovery

The Lewis and Clark Journals: An American Epic of Discovery edited by Gary E. Moulton is a one volume abridgement of the 13 volume comprehensive set produced from 1979-2001. In this volume, Editor Gary Moulton blends the narrative highlights of his definitive Nebraska edition of the Lewis and Clark journals. He adds the journals of the enlisted men, Sergeant Patrick Gass, Sergeant John Ordway and Private Joseph Whitehouse, to the voices of the captains. The journey is recounted, detailing the terrors and triumphs, the sense of wonder at the breathtaking land they explore, the drama of their interactions with tribes, and their encounters with animals. The focus of this abridged edition is on the expedition's encounters with Native Americans and their natural history observations. (Adult)

The Captain's Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe, by Roland Smith

The Captain's Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe, by Roland Smith relies heavily on the Lewis and Clark journals, but the author also uses his imagination to fill in the gaps to give the reader a better sense of the Corps of Discovery's experiences. The tale is told through the eyes of the Newfoundland dog that journeys across the continent. Seaman retrieves game, serves as a guard dog, hunter, and a valuable member of the expedition. The author's lifelong love of dogs and wolves helps him describe what the dog might have thought of the incidents described in the captains' journals. (Young Adult)

The Captain's Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe

Seaman's Journal: On the Trail with Lewis and Clark, by Patricia Reeder Eubank has Lewis' Newfoundland dog, Seaman, recount his three year adventure that covers more than 8,000 miles. Children are fascinated by the adventures described by this big, furry, webbed-footed dog. Seaman is mistaken for a bear by the Indians who have never seen such a large dog. He has remarkable encounters with both familiar and unfamiliar wild animals. With lively text and superb full page art, the author draws the reader in to see the expedition through Seaman's eyes. This is sure to be a favorite, starting with: "Here is my story of the greatest adventure a dog ever had when I followed Lewis and Clark all the way to the Pacific Ocean and back again.", and ending with "And I, Seaman, have brought my wise, brave, and dedicated master safely home." (Children)