Lewis & Clark Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-08-06 
Review Score: 3 out of 5 star From 10 user ratings

"I really enjoyed the heck out of this graphic novel. I am a cartoonist myself, so I could appreciate the humor in it, mixed with the facts. The author made this like a comic book, yet really educational. I loved his portrayal of Lewis and Clark, having read about the personalities of the two men, I think he really nailed it. It's awesome how he captured their distinct personalities. Really, these two guys were quite different individuals; Lewis was high strung, temperamental, and often troubled whereas Clark was more laid back and down to earth.

I loved his caricatures, the style, everything. I especially was impressed by how, with a totally black and white cartoon book with minimal backgrounds that Bertozzi was able to capture the spirit of the expedition. These two guys really saw a lot of stuff on their trip, and the author was able to make you believe you were really on the journey without really intricate illustrations.

Really all around a fun read.
" said.

"This book had incredible illustrations (eye expressions alone often provided more context than any words) but was lacking in storyline development.
The entire journey of Lewis and Clark was probably an insurmountable task for a graphic novel. Too much history, too many events to cover to portray in this format.
If I were a better American or could remember more from my high school American History class, I probably would've enjoyed this book more. As it is, however, there was too much I didn't understand and there wasn't enough explanation of events.
The illustrations, however, put a humanitarian edge on the story. The conditions, the food, the physical toll the journey took on all involved...this would be an excellent companion to a textbook or classroom setting.
I am grateful that the author took on this novel and that it exists. It is an important part of our history and maybe it'll reach more eyes and minds because of this alternative format.
" said.

"(Note: This didn't take as long to read as it looks—I'd started it, but then got swamped by schoolwork and put it aside.)

My knowledge of the Lewis and Clark expedition is limited to what little I'd learned in school over the years (i.e., not much), so I can't speak to the historical accuracy of this graphic novel. That said, I enjoyed reading it. Not because there was anything particularly surprising or because I learned anything really new, but because (as a previous reviewer said) it gives personalities to the historical figures so that they aren't just entities anymore. I think maybe the best part about reading this is that it piqued my interest in the expedition, and makes me want to research it further myself.

The one thing that maybe bothered me a bit was that I'd sometimes turn the page, and end up somewhat uncertain as to whether I should be reading across the two pages, or down the first. Perhaps you can write that off as my relative inexperience with graphic novels/comics in general.

Full disclosure: I received the book free through Goodreads First Reads.
" said.

"I was drawn to this due to it's subject matter; I just wanted to see what a graphic novel about Louis & Clark could do. I was not expecting it to have as full characters as this does. Bertozzi has a great style. He experiments with the limitations of a panel, often covering whole pages or even having a certain style of panel for a character or indian tribe. The actual speech bubbles themselves are also particular to who is talking and what language they're talking in. I love it! For that alone I give it 4 stars.

I was a bit confused at the appearance of Lewis' malady. It all happened quite suddenly, which, I guess makes a point. I wish there was more about Sacagawea just because when I think of Lewis & Clark I think of her (there's a dollar coin with her on it for pete's sake!). I think the story could have been held together better. It seemed like the return trip home was a bit all over the place. But if you look at it from the perspective of those on the expedition, they probably felt the same.

Overall this was an enjoyable read and a good example of what the comic format can do.
" said.

"While I'm not a huge history nut, stuff like this will usually catch my interest. Thinking about just taking a bunch of guys and going off into the unknown to see if maybe you can do something - it's pretty amazing to think that there used to be a fair amount of people willing to do that. There's a part where Jefferson says that Lewis is "everything an American would want to be" - I kind of wish that were still the case.

In any event, this is a pretty ambitious book. The storytelling works pretty well, being a mix of factual anecdotes and what I'm guessing is somewhat speculative personal episodes, but there's a lot of information to cover and things jump about a bit too much.

Likewise, the artwork alternates between long horizontal panels and the normal comic page sort of layout. This is a neat approach, but it was a bit confusing to me, because it wasn't always clear when it was happening, and usually I had already attempted to read the pages as if they were laid out normally. Still, Bertozzi's drawing is excellent as usual, and in some places he really seems to capture the essence of the expedition.

Overall, interesting, worth reading, and maybe a bit inspiring.
" said.

"This would definitely be a graphic novel that could be used to get young people interested in history because there is action and humor, but it is not always easy to understand the details. Sometimes I was not sure what exactly was happening. It could have maybe used some endnotes or a timeline. Also, sometimes it wasn't clear initially when it was a two page spread that needed to be read all the way across so I needed to re-read, but that is not a huge problem.

I know his perspective was Lewis & Clark, but in this day and age, it would have been nice to consult (he may have, but it wasn't noted) and note at least one source that is from the American Indian perspective. I know there aren't many history sources that are, but they do exist like Lewis and Clark Through Indian Eyes. I appreciated that all of the American Indians didn't look the same, but I didn't feel convinced that they were completely accurate representations.

The most bothersome thing for me was the pidgin English & the dialect of the French. I would have preferred one straight speech pattern to broken English.

" said.

"The note at the beginning of this book helped a lot: what the author want to do was to communicate "the experience of that remarkable expedition". This the book does very well. The graphic novel format made it hard for me to follow some of the history, leaving me to want to read a standard biography or nonfiction book on the topic, but this was a good way to impart the highlights (or lowlights as they were!) of the expedition. The book starts when the president gives the commission and ends with Lewis' problems afterwards, and his suicide.

Strengths: I can see this being used by social studies teachers to recount some of the more interesting portions of the journey or to entice students to read further. It is well-researched and the drawings are comparable to other graphic novels.

Weaknesses: As previously stated, understanding the details is sometimes difficult without the support of a lot of text. The one formatting issue I would have changed is that sometimes the drawings are contained on one page, and sometimes it is necessary to read across the entire two page spread to read things in order. Perhaps this is not a struggle for those used to graphic novels, but I had to reread several pages because of the confusion this caused.
" said.

"It's fairly shameful that I went to a college named after these guys, and I know very little about their expedition. So when I came across this in a search for stuff for my 3rd-grader to read, I figured the least I could do was spend the hour to read it myself. It's kind of an impressionistic take on what really comes across as an astonishing trailblazing venture. The artwork and approach is quite good at conveying the sense of some of the hardships involved. There's a lot going on, with minor threads involving Clark's slave, Sacajawea, Lewis' depression, and more. It's kind of a lot to take in, along with tonal shifts (including fart gags) that are occasionally jarring. Probably the most interesting aspect, which is kind of confusingly rendered here, is all the interactions with various tribes they encountered along the way. It kind of sparked my appetite to learn a little more, and maybe pick up one of the standard histories, such as Stephen Ambrose's Undaunted Courage. And although I lament the absence of a more detailed map of the route, the book's overall design and repeated commitment to inventive double-page spread layouts made it a little more interesting than the standard graphic book. " said.

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