On the River with Lewis and Clark
Environmental History - Travel Guide
6.125 x 9.25, 224 pp.
49 b&w photos., 6 line drawings., 4 illus.
Pub Date: 01/28/2004
Environmental History Series
Price:        $17.95


Published by Texas A&M University Press

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On the River with Lewis and Clark

By Verne Huser

On their remarkable journey across the North American continent, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark's "Corps of Discovery" traveled almost 10,000 miles, about 9,000 of them on rivers—the Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, Jefferson, Beaverhead, Clearwater, Snake, Columbia, Yellowstone—or their associated forks, creeks, and tributaries.

With an expert's eye, Verne Huser tells us what it was like to mount and carry out an expedition that was "basically a river trip." From the construction of the boats in 1803 to the negotiation of the last miles home three years later, the explorers were tied inextricably to the river systems that carried them west into uncharted territory and back again. From the Ohio River to the Columbia, they rowed, paddled, pulled, poled, sailed, and portaged their way into history—mapping, collecting, and recording a country's first glimpse of its western wealth.

Himself a river man, Huser has canoed, rafted, or cruised much of the expedition's route. He brings to the famous story his knowledge of the "ways of wind and water," giving readers a rare, first-hand look at the benefits and hazards of river travel as they might have been experienced by the thirty-three explorers—some boatmen, some not—on the river with Lewis and Clark.

Verne Huser has been a river guide for more than forty years and is the author of seven books on rivers and river recreation, including Rivers of Texas, published by Texas A&M University Press in 2000. A retired English teacher, Huser has also worked as an archivist, a national park ranger and naturalist, and an environmental mediator. He is a member of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Verne Huser is a legendary western river man. Sandbars and sweepers, winds and rapids, thole pins and rudders, poling and portaging become real in Huser’s skilled hands. Using his own river experience to interpret that of Lewis and Clark, he creates a compelling account of going with (or against!) the flow. This book is certain to be an important part of Lewis and Clark literature.”--Roderick Nash, Professor Emeritus, University of California–Santa Barbara, and author, Wilderness of the American Mind and The Big Drops: Ten Legendary Rapids of the American West

“A trove of background knowledge, reference points, and insight, from a veteran riverman. Verne Huser has presented a water-level view of the famous expedition which was, we must remember, waterborne most of the way. Huser gives the odyssey a whole new dimension: Lewis and Clark had to be sailors as well as soldiers.” --James Alexander Thom, author, From Sea to Shining Sea and Sign Talk

“Thomas Jefferson’s search for the Northwest Passage made Lewis and Clark into river men. Verne Huser’s book puts us on the river with the Corps of Discovery. Built on years of first-hand river experience and careful historical research, On The River With Lewis and Clark fills a major gap in expedition literature.” --James P. Ronda, University of Tulsa

On the River with Lewis and Clark gives river guide/writer Verne Huser an opportunity to take readers along on the rivers of the West with Jefferson’s explorers. The result is a kind of manual on how one can really experience and relive history, and understand the changes time brings. With this book, I think Huser is in the position of having written a work only he could have, so this is a one-of-a kind Lewis and Clark book. . . . Lewis and Clark bring out the explorer/river runner in many of us.” --Dan Flores, author, The Natural West and Southern Counterpart to Le

“Huser’s experience and knowledge add an exciting dimension when examining the trip of Lewis and Clark. Some put the expedition of Lewis and Clark on par with the modern voyage to the moon. This little book will help you get a completely different perspective.” --Mexia Daily News

“An excellent book that fills a major gap in expedition literature. The fine drawings and sketches illustrate many aspects of river boat structure and navigation. Interesting reading even for the novice, and a must book for the Lewis and Clark devotees.” --The Manhattan Mercury

“This is a treasure trove of information about how rivers as well as the wildlife and landscape affected the Corps of Discovery. Highly readable and highly recommended for the casual reader as well as the historian. No one has ever written so extensively of the water travel of the expedition.” --Roundup Magazine

“The true explorer in the family will be delighted to read On the River with Lewis and Clark by Verne Huser and travel their 10,000 mile journey.” --The City Paper

On the River with Lewis and Clark arrives as welcome new insight in the flood of publishing that is cresting during the bicentennial celebration of the Lewis and Clark expedition. His intimate knowledge of boats and the ways of wind and water expands our understanding of exactly how the boat crews managed to proceed and survive.” --Virginia Quarterly Review

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