clarkI have posted before about my interest in the Lewis and Clark expedition that was an epic chapter in early days of our republic. But what do we know about Lewis and Clark, the men, before their iconic journey? This is something I really never thought about, other than the basic history of why they were chosen for their task. However, when I saw the new book The Unknown Travels and Dubious Pursuits of William Clark by Jo Ann Trogdon, I knew there was more about Mr. Clark than history had recorded to date.

In this wonderful book, Ms. Trogdon puts on her detective hat to investigate what Clark was up to in his earlier life, specifically the period between 1798 and 1801. Clark left behind journals and logs that have been largely unexplored by historians, until now. Comparing Clark’s tales with other records, Ms. Trogdon puts together a compelling story of what Clark was up to in this time period with the backdrop of some Kentuckians’ quest to be independent from the young United States – “one of the largest and most scandalous plots to commit treason against the United States”

About The Unknown Travels and Dubious Pursuits of William Clark by Jo Ann Trogdon: “In 1798—more than five years before he led the epic western journey that would make him and Meriwether Lewis national heroes—William Clark set off by flatboat from his Louisville, Kentucky home with a cargo of tobacco and furs to sell downriver in Spanish New Orleans. He also carried with him a leather-trimmed journal to record his travels and notes on his activities. In this vivid history, Jo Ann Trogdon reveals William Clark’s highly questionable activities during the years before his famous journey west of the Mississippi. Delving into the details of Clark’s diary and ledger entries, Trogdon investigates evidence linking Clark to a series of plots—often called the Spanish Conspiracy—in which corrupt officials sought to line their pockets with Spanish money and to separate Kentucky from the United States. The Unknown Travels and Dubious Pursuits of William Clark gives readers a more complex portrait of the American icon than has been previously written.”

In her book, The Unknown Travels and Dubious Pursuits of William Clark, Ms. Trogdon fills in some layers of history and allows us to better understand the motivations and past of one of early America’s most iconic figures.

The Unknown Travels and Dubious Pursuits of William Clark by Jo Ann Trogdon is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.