Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival

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Not many years after the Louisiana Purchase, John Jacob Astor approached Thomas Jefferson with a grand proposal: to set up a trading colony on the far Western Coast of North America, effectively claiming that land for the United States. Astor dreamed of trading from the coasts of the rich, unexploited Pacific to the Far East, as well as overland through the unexplored American continent back to New York and the fledgling U.S. He equipped two expeditions: one, overland, to travel roughly the route of Lewis and Clark; the other by ship around Cape Horn and thence across the Pacific to the mouth of the Columbia River. Both expeditions were beset with difficulties from the start. The best-laid plans were no match for the forbidding, desolate, desperate situations in which the expeditions’ men found themselves, their trials only compounded by nationalistic and cultural barriers among them.

This book frequently had me on the edge of my seat. It is written with a perfect eye for drama, ending each chapter with a nail-biting cliffhanger. The plot trades from the overland to the sea route, keeping the reader abreast of the actions happening simultaneously. It is a great book, a great read, thrilling; a masterly account of an unfairly-overlooked episode in American history.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 384 pages
Publisher Ecco
Publish Date 2014-Mar-04
ISBN 9780062218292 Buy this Book
Issue June 2014
Category History


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