Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Thad Carhart's "Across The River" is a wonderful book about mainly Sacagawea and Charbonneau's son, Jean Baptiste. In the beginning there is a little about Sacagawea. Jean Baptiste experiences the death of his parents. Jean Baptiste's mother was a Shoshone. Sadly, she was taken captive by the Hidatsa Indian tribe. Then, she lives with the Mandan tribe.
Jean Baptiste suffers greatly after his mother' death. However, his memories are of peace, kindness and nature along the Missouri rivers. It isn't long before he begins his travels down to New Orleans and across the sea to France and Germany. He travels with a German Duke of Wurttemberg. This is my favorite part of the book.
I believe without Thad Carhart's beautiful writing style this part of the book might have been boring. However, his descriptive writing is wondrous. I felt as though I were traveling along with Jean Baptiste and his friend. The rooms, some with huge chandeliers, green silken walls, etc. are striking and memorable. The gardens shaped as mazes are great. Jean Baptiste is seeing a total different way of life from the one he experienced while out West in the Americas. While the Duke is in awe of the natural world of the Americas, he shows it by adding birds, flowers, rocks, etc. to his collection to take back home, Jean thinks Europe is beyond any man's dreams. Jean has never seen people leading such extraordinary lives filled with any fancy artifact you can name.
Thad Carhart in "Across The Endless River" helped me to see clearly how different North American was from Europe at that time. The people over there were more genteel, fancy, gay. Here, the pioneers were still making homes, pulling down timber and learning the ways of the Indians. History is a living force. Times have changed. Look how far America has come in wealth, the Arts, universities and in political intellect.
There is a lot in the book about the French Revolution and Napoleon as well. It is around 1824 when Jean is visiting across the sea. The Europeans are still remembering and striving to overcome the horrors of the French Revolution and talking about Emperor Napoleon. "Across The Endless River" is a book that just flows along tickling all of the five senses. In other words, "Across The Endless River" by Thad Carhart is marvelous.