This book follows the course of the Lewis and Clark expedition (1804-06), ecoregion by ecoregion, showing the land and environment that this expedition explored, and how the personal qualities and preconceptions that they brought to the expedition influences what they perceived in the explorations. The encounter of two highly insightful and intelligent men of European-based culture, with nature and the indigenous human cultures of the American West, was conditioned and influenced by earlier conceptions about the harmony or balance of nature, that they needed to revise and correct in order to succeed in their expedition. Prior to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, it was thought, for instance, that the Rocky Mountains could be no higher than about 6000 feet, because there must be a rough continental balance with the Eastern, Appalachian range. The Expedition would not have been launched when it was, with the resources devoted to it, if it were realized that the Rockies were in fact twice as high as thought.
'A gem amidst the bicentennial Lewis-and-Clark effusia' Rudolf Schmid, Taxon