Back to top
5 Books for Reading on the Missouri River

This year's Transect was divided into three segments, with the middle portion of the 11-day journey including a canoe trip down the Missouri River. Here, a very special expert joined American Prairie president Sean Gerrity and his group of fellow explorers: Stephenie Ambrose Tubbs. 

Stephenie is the author of The Lewis and Clark Companion and Why Sacagawea Deserves the Day Off, along with numerous articles and books on western history. The daughter of late historian and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Stephen Ambrose, author of Undaunted Courage, Stephenie literally grew up on the Lewis and Clark Trail. 

During the river trip, Stephenie spoke in depth about the Lewis and Clark expedition, which she calls "the story of our country." She also made reading recommendations that history buffs and naturalists are sure to enjoy when exploring the area or at home as armchair travelers. Here's her list: 

Recommended Reading for the Upper Missouri

Tough Trip Through Paradise by Andrew Garcia. This book is Garcia's memoir of trapping and trading furs in the Rocky Mountains in the 1870s. There are recounts the Nez Perce war and his involvement and marriage to three Native American Indian women. Surprisingly, the memoir was discovered in a dynamite box in Garcia's cabin when he died at age 88.

Astoria: Astor, Jefferson and the Lost Pacific Empire; A tale of Ambition and Survival of the Early American Frontier​ by Peter Stark. Here's a real life story of the 1810 Astor Expedition which makes the travels of Lewis and Clark look like a cake walk!

Lewis and Clark Among the Grizzlies: Legend and Legacy in the American West by Paul Schullery. This book examines the way Americans have viewed Grizzly bears since first encountering them, including how these views have been shaped by mythology and hunting yarns.

Across the Wide Missouri by Bernard DeVoto. Don't miss this Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade and the Upper Missouri River in the 1830s.

Yankees and Rebels on the Upper Missouri by Ken Robison. Recently released, you'll find lots of history of the Upper Missouri in this new book. According to a recent review in the Great Falls Tribune, "This new and highly anticipated volume introduces us to a different type of person, often quite as important as the “legends,” but perhaps undeservedly buried in the archives."