Check It Out: Astoria

Oct 3, 2017

Today, I’m recommending Astoria: Astor and Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire, a Tale of Ambition and Survival on the Early American Frontier by Peter Stark.

In the tradition of The Lost City of Z and Skeletons in the ZaharaAstoria is the thrilling, true-adventure tale of the 1810 Astor Expedition, an epic, now forgotten, three-year journey to forge an American empire in the Pacific Northwest.

Just two years after Lewis and Clark completed their expedition across America, millionaire mogul John Jacob Astor and President Thomas Jefferson launched their expedition to found the first American colony on the West Coast, in the hopes of transforming the nation into a Pacific trading power.

Of the more than one hundred and forty members of the two expedition parties that made the journey—one crossing the Rockies, the other by sea rounding Cape Horn—nearly half perished by violence. Others went mad. But despite all the hardships, within one year the Astor Expedition had successfully established Fort Astoria as a trading post set on the Columbia River.

Though the colony was short-lived and forced to fold at the onset of the War of 1812, it opened America’s eyes to the possibilities of the Western coast and its founding explorers carved the path for what would later become the Oregon Trail.

In this New York Times bestseller, veteran journalist Peter Stark has written a harrowing tale of high adventure and incredible hardship. Stark’s book is rich with detail and draws on original source material to captivatingly recreate a pivotal moment in American history, an expedition that changed the geography of a young nation and its place in global commerce and politics.

Highly recommended by bestselling author Nathaniel Philbrick, history buffs and adventure aficionados alike will delight in this fast-paced piece of history writing.

Check out Astoria: Astor and Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire, a Tale of Ambition and Survival on the Early American Frontier and other captivating true tales of adventure like it at the Sioux City Public Library.

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Support for Check It Out comes from Avery Brothers