Clad in a doeskin, alone and unafraid, she stood straight and proud before the onrushing forces of America's destiny: Sacajawea, child of a Shoshoni chief, lone woman on Lewis and Clark's historic trek -- beautiful spear of a dying nation.
She knew many men, walked many miles. From the whispering prairies, across the Great Divide to the crystal capped Rockies and on to the emerald promise of the Pacific Northwest, her story over flows with emotion and action ripped from the bursting fabric of a raw new land.
Ten years in the writing, SACAJAWEA unfolds an immense canvas of people and events, and captures the eternal longings of a woman who always yearned for one great passion -- and always it lay beyond the next mountain.
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ISBN 0380842939 - As a kid, I planned to be Sacajawea when I grew up; books about her remain high on my list of interests. This book is fiction: this matters because I think it impacts how you read it. It is also huge, not quite 1400 pages: the text is 1326 pages - notes and bibliography take it to 1408. Those last 82 pages lend some credibility to the thought that the book is NOT fiction, a negative to me, as are the utterly useless maps that are too small to read. Almost worth every hour it takes to read. A short review is nearly impossible, but I've tried. Sacajawea's story, from her childhood with her Shoshoni tribe through her probable death in 1812 is fascinating reading. Kidnapped, traded, lost in a bet, Sacajawea remains strong - this strength serves her well when she and her white man, Toussaint Charbonneau, are chosen to act as guides and interpreters for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Across the country and back on his mother's back, Jean Baptiste is Sacajawea's link to everything of importance to her - her Shoshoni heritage, the white men's new ways and Captain Clark, who takes the boy under his wing and provides him an education after Sacajawea's real world death. The book takes a downward spiral after the author begins to write the story of the 75 or so years that Sacajawea didn't actually live. It is unacceptable to imagine that the woman of the first portion of the book simply left her beloved son behind and walked off into the plains. Pieced together from various tribal mythologies, since dis-proven theories and unreliable witness statements, her path takes her into and away from several tribes and places, providing her with several things she never had - a happy loving marriage, a reunion with her people, a place and name of respect during her lifetime, and a peaceful, dignified and painless death (in 1884). Sadly, it goes on so long and in such excruciating detail that there were times I almost gave up finishing. This is a really good read, despite the lack of historical accuracy in many parts. The Sacajawea in the story, while fictional, does provide a link between the world she was born into, free of white men, and the world that followed, when white men had destroyed many of the ways of Indian tribes and confined them to reservations. That both worlds are harsh, ugly, and brutal and still have beauty and hope is nicely written and Sacajawea, as a wise elder and a woman who has lived in both worlds, is a superb tool for defining the differences. That several states try to claim the title of her place of birth or death and that many Native American tribes claim connections that could not have been only highlights the status Sacajawea earned, albeit long after her death. Read it for the story, not for the history.
The Blue Coat
Book Four HOMEWARD
The Sick Papoose
The Game of Hands
Book Two RETURN TO THE PEOPLE
Lewis and Clark
Birth of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau
A Sudden Squall
Book Three THE CONTINENT CONQUERED
Over the Mountains
Otter Womans Sickness
New Madrid Earthquake
Book Five LIFE AND DEATH