Undaunted Courage Questions and Answers
by Stephen E. Ambrose

Start Your Free Trial

Does writer Stephen Ambrose admire Meriwether Lewis in Undaunted Courage?  

Expert Answers info

David Wilson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write65 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Ambrose certainly admires Meriwether Lewis, just as he admires William Clark, often pointing out the tremendous difficulties that both men faced on their voyage. In fact, he opens the book by talking about Lewis's upbringing and illustrating the tenacity, ingenuity, and leadership that Lewis possessed from a young age. On page 29 he concludes Lewis's youth by saying, "He had shown himself to be a self-reliant, self-contained, self-confident teen-ager, and was a young man who took great pride in his perseverance and steadiness of purpose."

There are many times in Undaunted Courage where Ambrose points out how much pressure was on Lewis's shoulders: while Clark was the military leader, Lewis was responsible for conducting diplomacy with tribes, mapping out unknown regions, collecting biological samples, and deciding which route to take through the wilderness. While he made mistakes, just as anyone would have, the picture in Undaunted Courage of Lewis is very favorable.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

brettd eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write4,576 answers

starTop subjects are History, Social Sciences, and Literature

I think Ambrose admires both Lewis and Clark.  You can see when he writes about some of the challenges they faced, how these two men and their party were utterly alone in the unmapped wilderness, and simply the personal presence and strength of Lewis to overcome obstacles and lead a party of such men won his admiration.

I thought Ambrose specifically liked the fact that the Corps of Discovery could do what they did on the expedition with both limited resources and limited technology.  Lewis was a particularly able leader given the circumstances.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial