This is the compiled history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. This Vol. I covers only the period into October of 1805, when the expedition has crossed the Rockies, but not yet arrived at the Columbia River. Therefore, it does not have the story of the overwintering near the mouth of the Columbia at "Fort Clatsop", nor does it cover the trip back to St. Louis. While the prose can be sometimes tedious (we proceeded 2 miles to an island on the left, then 1 and half miles to a creek on the right, then...", the descriptions of the Indian communities and lifestyles before much corruption by white men can be exceedingly interesting. If you're a history buff or have an interest in the Lewis and Clark expedition, you'll want to read this.
docz’s book reviews
Although classified as a science fiction novel, this late work of Conrad is probably best thought of as commentary on the British political system of the time. It uses the literary device of all-seeing, semi-omniscient "Fourth Dimensionalists" to forecast and contribute to the downfall of those manipulating the British economic system. In many ways, this novel reads a lot like the commentary on "the system" that is so prevalent in Conrad's "The Secret Agent" or, in a different South American setting, his "Nostromo". Conrad's strength in most of his novels is revealing the inner workings of the minds of his characters. Readers of "The Inheritors" will not be disappointed in that aspect of it. If you like Conrad, you will probably find this novel enjoyable, as I did - but not because of the thin sci-fi overlay. The Inheritors moves a little slowly at first, as is typical of Conrad's work, but is worth the reading time in the end.
Across Asia on a Bicycle is a travelogue of an epic journey at a time (1890) when bicycles were largely unknown in an Asia nearly unchanged by contact with the outside world. The book is as interesting for its description of the peoples encountered as it is for the places visited. It is easy reading and entertaining, although not without a few disappointments. The tale of the travels through Turkey and Iran is rich and detailed, but the trip through the Gobi Desert in China is simply a point-to-point chronicle of towns and encounters, without much description of the spectacular scenery of the Gobi. One high point (no pun intended) in the book is the side trip devoted to climbing of Mount Ararat, a place only a few had seen and which locals refused to believe was even possible. Although the idiom of the book is that of the 1890\\\'s, it is still vital and fascinating in its portrayal of peoples the bicyclists met and lodged with. On the whole, this is a worthwhile and fun read.
This book is as important for its observations of nature, particularly in South America and the Galapagos Islands, as it is for its impact on Darwin's theory of natural selection. Although written in 19th Century idiom, it reads clearly, with a wealth of information on biology, zoology, geology and paleontology. Think of it as adventure meets history meets scientific exploration. A must-read for anyone who enjoys travel tales. This one just happens to be of exceptional importance as the backdrop and basis of Darwin's theory of evolution.
This is a classic which all sci-fi fans should read, both for its imaginative action and for its subsequent effect on sci-fi authors (e.g. Barsoom reappears in Heinlein's The Number of the Beast). Some will find it dated in light of what is now known about Mars, but that is a part of its charm. Its ethos harkens back to a day when honor and integrity still meant something. A fast read and highly recommended!