Empire

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.

Palace of the Governors Collections, Museum of New Mexico

It’s hard to know where to start because the roots of this incredible story originate all around the world.

That there were Frenchmen here long, long ago will surprise no one. The French arrived not long after the Sioux showed up—fur trappers, hundreds of them, and their dealers, men with largely unpronounceable names like Sioux City’s own founding father, Theophile Brugeiur.

How long ago? Ages. Ben Franklin, the Ben Franklin was 14. George Washington wasn’t even born—and wouldn’t be for a dozen years, Thomas Jefferson for 23. Early, early, early.