Few historical chronicles are as informative and eloquent as the
journal written by Prince Maximilian of Wied as a record of his
journey into the North American interior in 1833, following the
route Lewis and Clark had taken almost thirty years earlier.
Maximilian's memorable descriptions of topography, Native peoples,
and natural history were further brought to life through the
now-familiar watercolors and sketches of Karl Bodmer, the young
Swiss artist who accompanied him.
The first of the three volumes of the "North American Journals"
recounts the prince's journey from Europe to St. Louis--then the
edge of the frontier. Volume II vividly narrates his experiences on
the upper Missouri and offers an unparalleled view of the region
and the peoples native to it. In these pages, we accompany
Maximilian as he travels far up the Missouri River to Fort
McKenzie, a trading post some 2,500 river miles from St. Louis near
what is now Fort Benton, Montana. The handsome, oversize volume not
only reproduces this historic document but also features every one
of Maximilian's illustrations--more than 200 in all, including
nearly 50 in color--from the original journal now housed at Joslyn
Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska.
Maximilian recorded detailed observations of flora, fauna,
geology, and climate. From his unique, scientifically trained
perspective, he also undertook a serious field study of the
cultures and languages of the central and northern Great Plains
Indians he encountered. His journal contains important, firsthand
descriptions of tribal social customs, religious rituals, material
culture, and art, as well as an account of Native interactions with
Euro-Americans engaged in the then-burgeoning fur trade.
"This book is published with the assistance of the National
Historical Publications and Records Commission."
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