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Speaking of Band of Brothers and Stephen Ambrose, I felt no hesitation to read another by this gentleman. I do like historical pieces, despite my dislike of War and Peace. This transported me back to 1800 in the United States, 24 years after the Revolutionary War.
I had heard of the Lewis and Clark expedition, of course, like all school kids know. But not this story. Ambrose infuses a personal chemistry into the book that makes readers feel like they are seeing the Gates of the Rocky Mountains; herds of buffalo that stretch for miles; Great Plains with flowers and Indian tee-pees; winter that are fifty below zero; Plains Indians, and Sacajawea as the only female, along as translator.
I saw this book on the used shelf at Half Price books, and had to read it . I am a huge fan of Thomas Jefferson, and Meriwether Lewis was a big friend of the author of our constitution. The two knew each other from Virginia. Thomas felt Meriwether had all the traits he needed in a leader who would explore the territories west of the Rockies; be level-headed, maintain a politically-motivated sense of propriety,; and collect botanical samples, write journal entries, and make navigational observations as well.
Lewis had it all: smarts, physical courage, and a sense of curiosity. But he also had a familial history of mental depression, which undoes him in the middle of his life. I found myself very upset with his self-inflicted death. His suicide went a long way to obscure him from history books despite the laude he justly deserves as “America’s greatest explorer.” It is also ironic that, after traversing 8000 miles and writing about it, he never followed through with publication of his travels, an enterprise that would have secured him both financially, and, perhaps, emotionally.
Undaunted Courage is a time machine. I find myself amazed to think what men are capable of enduring, what thing we can accomplish, and how pathetic and complacent most of us are. ***** Five Stars

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This was an incredibly overrated book. I could not wait until I was finished reading it, in fact I did not even finish it. The book is chock full of unverified "facts”, such as the Corp of Discovery held the first democratic election west of the Mississippi. How does he know this? He doesn't think that any of the American Indian tribes held any kind of "democratic election" to make decisions. Even Spanish settles may have, who knows? Not Ambrose. This kind or "first" claiming always rings bells with me anyway, and Ambrose can't keep from doing it. Don't waste your time with this book. 

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A great historical narrative for the history buff or anyone wanting to learn more about the impetus for Western expansion in the US. While the opening chapters were cumbersome with mounds of detail in Lewis's preparation, it really set the stage for his adventures with the Corps of Discovery. The late Ambrose was and always will be a phenomenal historian and writer. I don't recommend this to be the first Ambrose book you read, but a great stepping stone into the world of what great and adventurous autobiographical writing. 

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