What was the author's purpose in writing Undaunted Courage?
Although one might think this work of narrative history is "about" the Lewis and Clark expedition, it is really a semi-biographical story of Meriwether Lewis, and how the expedition fit into his life and quest for adventures. Ambrose begins with an overview of Lewis's pre-Lewis and Clark life, showing the reader how he came into the orbit of fellow Virginian and family friend Thomas Jefferson. Ambrose gives the reader many first person accounts of the trip through journal entries, in which we are able to see what the travelers saw and described in their own words. The expedition was tasked with collecting and making notes on the natural world as they came into contact with it, thereby making journaling a great necessity; although some of the journals were probably lost after the expedition, there have been more than enough for narrative historians to reconstruct a fairly detailed and insightful picture of the government's first organized attempt to explore the expanding nation.