Sacajawea

Sacajawea

Clad ln a doeskin, alone and unafraid, she stood straight and proud before the onrushlng Forces of America’s destiny: Sacajawea. child of a Shoshoni chief, lone woman on Lewis and Clark‘s historic trek-beautiful spear of a dying nation.She knew many men, walked many miles. From the whispering prairies, across the Great Divide to the crystal-capped Rockies and o...

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Title:Sacajawea
Author:Anna Lee Waldo
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Edition Language:English

Sacajawea Reviews

  • Diane Nielson

    Simply put, this is the most amazing story I know and the book is incredibly written. i read this very long book about 14 years ago, and I remember my mother reading it about 10 years prior to that. I still have the actual book that she and I read. It's very special to me, not just for the connection to my mother, but because the story of Sacajawea is so well depicted within it's covers. I remember laughing on one page, then sobbing to the point of having to put the book down on the next. It's d

    Simply put, this is the most amazing story I know and the book is incredibly written. i read this very long book about 14 years ago, and I remember my mother reading it about 10 years prior to that. I still have the actual book that she and I read. It's very special to me, not just for the connection to my mother, but because the story of Sacajawea is so well depicted within it's covers. I remember laughing on one page, then sobbing to the point of having to put the book down on the next. It's depressing, enlightening, romantic, devastating, heart-warming. It's real.

    I cant wait to read it again and pass it down to my daughter.

  • John Clements

    If you're up to reading this book get settled in and just accept that you're about to begin a very fruitful journey. Thoroughly researched and annotated, Waldo's SACAJAWEA is a historical epic worthy of being studied in high school history classes. But don't let that color your expectations, because this novel is also a sweeping tableaux of emotions and humanity.

  • Judy

    This book was simply amazing and I recommend it to anyone who likes to see history come alive! It was a very long book; however, I was totally engrossed throughout the book. Sacajawea led a very extraordinary life through her experiences with the Lewis and Clark expedition that taught her so much more than other Indian women of the period. She learned many languages and lived with several Indian tribes as well as with white explorers. The book is extremely well-written and, although it is an his

    This book was simply amazing and I recommend it to anyone who likes to see history come alive! It was a very long book; however, I was totally engrossed throughout the book. Sacajawea led a very extraordinary life through her experiences with the Lewis and Clark expedition that taught her so much more than other Indian women of the period. She learned many languages and lived with several Indian tribes as well as with white explorers. The book is extremely well-written and, although it is an historic novel, many facts are woven into the story (duly footnoted so you can see the inspiration for the story and read for yourself the actual evidence available). This book had to have been researched intensively. Anna Lee Waldo brought Sacajawea to life and this book seems a tribute to her life.

  • Karina

    I realize I never wrote a review for this book and it deserves such high praise. Waldo studied Sacajawea's (Shoshone Tribe) life for so long and did such a great job. It is easily in my top 10 books. It was long, 1000 pages, so I wasn't sure if I could handle it but I'm so glad I tried. I couldn't get enough of her life and how brave she was. Pocahontas has nothing on her!

    The book is basically about her 8,000 mile journey with the Lewis and Clark expedition as an interpreter of Indian languages

    I realize I never wrote a review for this book and it deserves such high praise. Waldo studied Sacajawea's (Shoshone Tribe) life for so long and did such a great job. It is easily in my top 10 books. It was long, 1000 pages, so I wasn't sure if I could handle it but I'm so glad I tried. I couldn't get enough of her life and how brave she was. Pocahontas has nothing on her!

    The book is basically about her 8,000 mile journey with the Lewis and Clark expedition as an interpreter of Indian languages. This was a journey that shouldn't have happened bc 1. She was a woman 2. She had just finished giving birth to a baby boy. She marries a horrible Canadian-French man, Toussaint Charbonneau, that mistreats and belittles her but she perseveres and becomes a wonderful, smart historical figure all before feminism was a "thing."

    I wish historians knew what became of her later life and when and how she died or even what became of her son, Jean "Pomp" Baptiste, but that will always be a mystery.

    Highly recommend if you are into Native American subject matter.

  • aPriL does feral sometimes

    'Sacajawea' by Anna Lee Waldo is the most detailed historical fiction novel I have ever read. The rumor is it took Waldo ten years to write the novel. Yet, despite that Waldo includes every aspect of life - hunting, building shelters, marriage, raising children, social customs - for various North American Indian tribes between the Mississippi and the Pacific Northwest, she never neglects the inner life of human joy, love and suffering of all of her cast of characters. The personalities are each

    'Sacajawea' by Anna Lee Waldo is the most detailed historical fiction novel I have ever read. The rumor is it took Waldo ten years to write the novel. Yet, despite that Waldo includes every aspect of life - hunting, building shelters, marriage, raising children, social customs - for various North American Indian tribes between the Mississippi and the Pacific Northwest, she never neglects the inner life of human joy, love and suffering of all of her cast of characters. The personalities are each finely drawn and vivid to the eye and heart.

    Sacajawea was one of the child wives of Toussaint Charbonneau, a 19th-century French-Canadian hunter and trapper reknown for his braggart blowhard speeches, his crude manners and general lazy negligence. Middle-aged Charbonneau treated his twelve- and thirteen-year-old wives like packhorses and slaves - which is why he preferred native girls. For Sacajawea, he was her fourth master. She had been traded to tribe after tribe after she was kidnapped from her murdered family, the Shoshonis (lived in what is now Montana), when she was about ten or eleven, ending up in the Dakotas with the Mandans. She first was raped while enslaved with a Minnetaree tribe. Charbonneau won her when her Mandan owner lost her in a gambling game at a Native-American trading fair. She was thirteen, most likely.

    Two years later, the Lewis and Clark expedition traveled up the Missouri River, arriving at a trading post where Charbonneau was living. The two explorers asked around for an English-Shoshoni translator. Charbonneau got the job. It apparently was not understood his wife was the Shoshoni translator as Charbonneau claimed her accomplishments for himself. Captain Meriwether Lewis did not want a woman along on the exploratory trek across the new territory America had bought from the French emperor, Napoleon, but he reluctantly gave his assent. Time, and various adventures, soon exposed Charbonneau's true character to the expedition. Everyone soon realized Sacajawea was an enormous asset, knowing the sign language common to many northern and plains tribes, knowing the territory, knowing how to prepare killed animals for food and clothes, knowing the plants which were medicinal or edible. She was smart as hell. Arguably, her biggest contribution was simply being a female with a baby. Yes, a baby. She had had her baby at the beginning of the gig. Tribes saw the armed White men had a woman and a baby with them, and so put their weapons down, thinking no war party would have women and children with them. Charbonneau got the paycheck and the peace medal from President Jefferson, however, when they returned from the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean beach.

    The foregoing is not the end of the story. This is what happens to Sacajawea up to page 700. The novel has 1,408 pages in total.

    When Lewis and Clark return to Washington D.C. to hand in their maps, journals and animal/plant/Indian artifacts, Sacajawea has become aware each Indian tribe treats women differently and has learned the different Indian customs regarding what is right and wrong. Upper-class Lewis and Clark are very different from the rude White and half-breed trappers with whom she has become familiar. Captain William Clark offers Charbonneau a job, land and a paid education for his now family of two boys (one from Sacajawea). Charbonneau finally accepts Clark's offer a few years later, which was still open, after some business matters trapping and interpreting do not go well. In St. Louis, Missouri, Sacajawea learns how White women live.

    Before Sacajawea's story is over, she spends time with the Comanche, finds true love, learns Spanish in addition to her English, French, Mandon, and other Native-American languages, has more children, meets the Mormons in Utah, and lives through a few more attacks. She saw the famous Mandan ceremony of hanging from a ceiling suspended by skewers inserted under their skin, exactingly described. She endured multiple incidences of starvation, wildfires and awful weather.

    Wow.

    While this is a fictionalized biography of the real Sacajawea's life, it is often backed by hard evidence as well as rumors, stories and myths. The hard evidence is collected from many witness journals, letters, and third-hand tales written down in family histories. The author researched many Native-American tribal histories and lore as well as anything mentioning Sacajawea. To call this book in-depth does not do it justice. It is encyclopedic.

    One of the stories say Sacajawea died at age 24 of a fever, but there is evidence she lived to an old age, scattered as it is. The author assumes Sacajawea lived a long interesting life of adventures, and follows the more opaque written records of her travels after she left the Lewis and Clark expedition.

    Waldo mostly avoids taking a stance or opinion on cultural customs and beliefs, but she makes obvious what those customs involved. I think she also minimizes the growing knowledge of Native-Americans that their land was being stolen with the resulting aggressive reactions and sorrows. Waldo puts in Sacajawea's mouth late in the book dialogues and thoughts about accepting change and reservation life simply because it was inevitable due to the superior force of many more White people. She notices Native-Americans were beginning to fail as a culture because of the transmission of European diseases to natives, many of which were fatal, the despoiling of animal life and hunting. She is told of one tribe with whom she lived no longer exists. When Sacajawea is old, she sees mountain men, trappers and Indians despairing about all of the civilians moving in.

    'Sacajawea' is a wonderful book I highly recommend about the American West and the Native-Americans of the early 19th century, before what we now call the Wild West period. This time period is just before and during when many Western native tribes met White men for the first time, just before the years covered wagons and steam engines pulled households across the plains, when buffalo and other types of animal life were plentiful in the warm seasons. However, we readers often romanticize the Indians and the cowboys and the trappers and the mountain men - but I suspect most of us women would not actually want to return to the old social customs expected of women no matter the society. Wow, was it hard being a female in earlier centuries, even when one was a woman whose personal qualities were recognized as being above the common crowd.

    The book includes an extensive non-fiction fact-based epilogue, a Notes section and a Bibliography.

  • Melissa

    This book is not for the faint of heart or those who want a quick read. At 1328 pages for just the story and an additional 61 pages of notes this is a titan of a read. But every page is well worth it.

    It starts out when Sacajawea is a young girl and covers her capture and enslavement by the Mandan tribe. While with the Mandans she is subjected to rape at around age 11 (the book makes it somewhat hard to pinpoint her age at times), learns the art of glass making, and then is eventually

    This book is not for the faint of heart or those who want a quick read. At 1328 pages for just the story and an additional 61 pages of notes this is a titan of a read. But every page is well worth it.

    It starts out when Sacajawea is a young girl and covers her capture and enslavement by the Mandan tribe. While with the Mandans she is subjected to rape at around age 11 (the book makes it somewhat hard to pinpoint her age at times), learns the art of glass making, and then is eventually sold off to another tribe. This tribe is a lot kinder to her and she has a few easy years until she is lost in a wager to her future husband (the perverted Toussaint Charbonneau).

    We next see Sacajawea pregnant with her first child (John Baptiste also known as Pomp) when she attracts the attention of Lewis and Clark. As her man Charbonneau is to be an interpreter for the expedition, her wit and intelligence cause Clark to ask for her to come along as well. He also reasons that a party traveling with a woman and baby will not look like a war party.

    Regarding her travels with Lewis and Clark, while the travel west was covered extensively, the return was not given as much detail. Upon their journey they meet several local Indian tribes and the author seems to really hone in that all these people are fond of the native salmon, rotting or fresh, and the character's disdain for the meal. In all, I expected this to be a large part of the book when in reality it was only 300-400 pages worth of the book. While the rest of her life was definitely worth writing about, it seems like the author could have spent more time on this subject as it is one of the more well known parts of her life. The return back east lasted only a couple of chapters and didn't seem to give as much depth as everything else.

    Upon her return from the expedition they settle peacefully in St Louis where Clark's wife teaches her to sew and embroider and they have no worry of starving in the lean winter months (something that is shown quite prevalently in other parts of the books when she is with her native Indian tribes).

    One day, when the beatings from Charbonneau finally push her to the breaking point, she packs up her belongings and leaves and her ten year old son Baptiste stays with his father. She is taken in by a tribe of Comanche and remarries. Over the course of 26 years she has an additional five children, but only two out of them survive childhood.

    When her husband dies she leaves and seeks out the white man, hoping to find her first born son. The rest of the book follows this journey until she's well into her eighties and has settled down with her daughters and grandchildren.

    Sacajawea faced many hardships and Waldo's book explores many of them. It also faces her triumphs and her sorrows and really makes you believe you know everything she went through and can take a real peek at her life. Waldo also did a wonderful job of incorporating quotes and citations from numerous journals of the time at the beginning of each chapter. It provides factual background that helps make this fictional telling more believable. Each chapter starts out with an excerpt and she bases the next chapter loosely upon that excerpt, creating a story line for each chapter within the story itself. Her writing itself is very detailed and she seems to put a lot of emotion behind her words.

  • Colleen

    I really, really liked it. More like 4.5 stars, but it was long, and not a quick read for me. Really well done. Fascinating research and history.

    Also, I remember my grandmother having this book in her apartment as well, back in the 1980's, so it has sentimental value also!

  • Jessica Vasquez

    I read this book when I was in 4th and 5th grade. I realize this book was written for adults, but I was obsessed with learning more about Sacajawea at that age. My dad said it would be okay for me to read it, so I did. It took me close to a year to complete the whole thing--but I eventually wrote a 5th grade book report on it when we were assigned to read a historical fiction piece. My teacher rewarded us with a piece of licorice for every 40 pages we read. As you can imagine, with a book over 1

    I read this book when I was in 4th and 5th grade. I realize this book was written for adults, but I was obsessed with learning more about Sacajawea at that age. My dad said it would be okay for me to read it, so I did. It took me close to a year to complete the whole thing--but I eventually wrote a 5th grade book report on it when we were assigned to read a historical fiction piece. My teacher rewarded us with a piece of licorice for every 40 pages we read. As you can imagine, with a book over 1000 pages--I got a lot of licorice. Needless to say, I was VERY popular with my 5th grade classroom the day I delivered my book report.

  • Kathryn Bashaar

    I read this book 30 years ago and loved it. So, when I saw it was the May choice of the Historical Fictionistas, I was excited to re-read it. I didn't like it as much on the re-reading. I'm disappointed to discover that, along with everyone else in the world, my attention span has been eroded by the internet and a long, detailed book is hard for me. Also, I think this book has a Mississippi delta of a plot: meandering, sprawling and muddy. The first half, describing the L&C Expedition, is pr

    I read this book 30 years ago and loved it. So, when I saw it was the May choice of the Historical Fictionistas, I was excited to re-read it. I didn't like it as much on the re-reading. I'm disappointed to discover that, along with everyone else in the world, my attention span has been eroded by the internet and a long, detailed book is hard for me. Also, I think this book has a Mississippi delta of a plot: meandering, sprawling and muddy. The first half, describing the L&C Expedition, is pretty tight, but the second half is all over the place. It felt like Waldo couldn't bear to leave out one little bit of her historic research, so she places Sacajawea, Forrest-Gump-like, in the middle of pretty much every single thing that happened in the American West between 1803 and 1875. Instead of good dramatic scenes, there's way too much "then this happened then this happened then this happened" exposition.

    But I stuck with it, and there were some things that I still like about this book. I liked the vivid detail about Native American life. I was in Chicago at a conference for a few days while I was reading it and ate a $154 dinner and couldn't help thinking how excessive that was - when less than 200 years ago the majority of the residents of the Midwest were near starvation every winter.

    And I love the character of Sacajawea, so worthy and dignified even in the most difficult circumstances - and, in her old age, so wise.

  • Karla

    Lots of research, but simply too damn long and suffered from "author wants to put in every single thing she discovered and dramatize every little thing." It sometimes happens with these huge doorstoppers. But nice cover art by Tom Hall, as always.

    For the record, I made it to page 300, but it took a few weeks to even get that far. A sad rate for the time period I read it, when I was knocking off a 500 page book every 3 days (and no skimming, either). If I had to describe this book in

    Lots of research, but simply too damn long and suffered from "author wants to put in every single thing she discovered and dramatize every little thing." It sometimes happens with these huge doorstoppers. But nice cover art by Tom Hall, as always.

    For the record, I made it to page 300, but it took a few weeks to even get that far. A sad rate for the time period I read it, when I was knocking off a 500 page book every 3 days (and no skimming, either). If I had to describe this book in 3 words, it would be "Molasses in January."

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