I read David Lavender’s book on Lewisnand Clark. I hope I don’t trivializenthe two men by saying they would havenbeen ideal subjects for a good four- ornfive-part Disney serial. They were castnin the heroic mold and, therefore, werenperfect for that kind of presentation.nLavender is, in the words of one critic,nthe “ultimate authority” on Lewis andnClark. His book will tell most readersnall they could wish to know and thennsome about the explorers Thomas Jeffersonnsent to survey the LouisiananPurchase. Like their journey, reading itncan be both tiring and fascinating. Atn444 pages, it’s a pretty long haul. Butnit’s worth it.nHow does one begin to do justice tonthe story The Way to the Western Seanpresents? The journey proper began innSt. Louis in 1803. It lasted three yearsnand covered approximately four thousandnmiles. They journeyed by water,nby land, on horseback, and on footnthrough areas well-traveled today —nMontana, Idaho, Wyoming, Oregonn—but then known only by the reportnof a handful of British and Americanntraders. There were rivers to exploren(among them the Missouri, Columbia,nand Snake), mountains to cross, newnanimals and plants to catalogue, Indianntribes with customs to observe andndialects to study. In addition, there wasna region to map for the purpose ofndetermining what part really belongednto America (as well as what part mightnsome day be ours). More important,nthere were treaties to make for futurentrade with the Indian tribes. The ideanwas to reconcile them not only withnthe Americans but, much more difiRcult,nwith each other, without antagonizingnany of the parties concerned.nSuch was the expedition. Whatnabout the two men themselves? Theynwere, as Lavender points out, bothnalike and different. Both were over sixnfeet tall, loyal to each other and to theirncountry, disciplined, and resourceful.nEach had to go through a crash coursenin studies (medicine, surveying, botany)nthat must have been foreign andnirksome. Both submitted without complaint.nAs for their differences, Lewis wasnmelancholy and given to great swingsnof mood. Clark was comparativelyneven-tempered. He was more the frontiersmannthan Lewis (though Lewisnwas hardly a neophyte). Whatever thensimilarities and dissimilarities, theynmade a strong team in the wilderness. Incannot recall one time in Lavender’snbook that he reports a quarrel betweennthem.nTogether they led a band of just overn30 people (including the Shoshonensquaw Sacagewea and her baby) acrossnhalf the continent. Nature, in the formnof the Rockies and the Great Falls ofnMissouri, to mention two notable obstacles,ndid not always cooperate. Neitherndid the Indians.nJefferson had instructed Lewis andnClark to maintain peaceful relationsnwith the Indians, and for the most partnthey did. Sometimes it was not easy.nThe Ankara despised the Mandansnand the Hidatsas, who in turn distrustednthem. The Nez Perce feared thenBlackfeet. They all had misgivingsnabout the Sioux. As for the Shoshone,nthe one trade item they really wantednfrom the Americans was guns, ostensiblynto kill buffalo, but (one suspects)nalso to kill the Sioux. In addition tonthese intertribal conflicts was the antagonism,nmostly from the Sioux, towardnthe Americans. This, however,nhad nothing much to do with thennewcomers’ white skins. In fact, thenSioux already had excellent tradingnrelations with the British. The Siouxnsimply feared that the intrusion by thenAmericans might jeopardize thesentrade relations; consequently theynshowed themselves perfectly willing tonresort to double-dealing and outrightntreachery to protect their interests.nLIBERAL ARTSnBut whatever difficulties they hadnwith the Indians, Lewis and Clark keptnto the letter of Jefferson’s orders and,nwith the exception of a skirmish withnsome Blackfeet who tried to steal theirnhorses, avoided battle. They hadnenough on their hands battling thennew and demanding land. That challengenrequired brains, ruggedness, andna steady heroism. Smaller men withnbaser motives would not have measurednup. We can be thankful thatnLewis and Clark got there first. We cannbe equally thankful that David Lavendernhas written such a memorablenaccount of their exploits. Now if Disneynis just listening.nCarl C. Curtis lives in east Texas.nHAVE FARKSOO WILL TRAVELnThe AmericannCovenantnby E. Calvin BeisnernFaith and Freedom: The ChristiannRoots of American Libertynby Benjamin HartnDallas: Lewis and Stanley;n384 pp., $18.95n^ ^ T t is extremely frustrating to writenX history today because so muchneffort must go toward correcting thencountless distortions that have been insertedninto accounts of our heritage byn[Farksoo is a] language invented when she was a child by thenU.S. writer Barbara Newhall FoUet (1914-39) to be spokennon her imaginary planet Farksolia. A sample utterance fromnthe nairheen Farksoo (farksoo grammar): Na oparil “thengreatest dream of my life would be to go there.” FoUetnmarried in the mid-1930s and worked as a secretary andnstenographer. On Dec. 7, 1939, she walked out of hernapartment in Brookline, Maine, taking with her thirtyndollars and her stenographic notebook, and was never seennagain, (manuscript in Columbia Univ. Manuscript Library)n—from the entry on “Farksoo” innA Feminist Dictionary bynCheris Kramarae and Paula A. TreichlernnnOCTOBER 1989/39n