Author(s): Norman Gelb
"Very moving … fires even the jaded 20th-century imagination." — The Economist In 1766, shortly after France ceded a vast expanse of North America to Britain, Captain Jonathan Carver undertook the first exploration of the wilderness in the service of the Crown. He set off from the straits between lakes Huron and Michigan, intending to befriend the Indians, map the land, and discover the elusive Northwest Passage that led to India. He spent three years canoeing and trekking through the region around the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, covered thousands of miles, and returned with journals that were to become one of the most unusual books in travel literature. With a keen eye for detail, he recorded the pristine beauty of the land, its magnificent flora and fauna, and its incredible abundance of wildlife. His descriptions of Sioux government, religion, food, games, hunting, and clothing comprise the most complete account we have of the life, customs, and manners of the Plains Indians before they were altered by contact with the Europeans. Published posthumously in 1778, the captain’s journal was the first popular American travel book and an international best-seller. This edition, with a biographical essay on Jonathan Carver by Norman Gelb, restores an American classic to its deserved place on the bookshelf.