Ambrose, like many biographers before him, is a man enamored of his subject. To him, Meriwether Lewis is the paramount, curious, bootstrapped Renaissance man of the early 19th century; this bosom buddy of Thomas Jefferson is the bold Yin to William Clark’s relevant but slightly duller Yang. His biographic sweep of Lewis primarily concerns the exhilarating rawness of the journey of the Corps of Discovery during 1804-1806, but it is at its core a story about the man, not merely the events for which he is yet championed.
There’s a problem. Or perhaps not a problem so much as an absence of anything actively useful. I read a lot. I pursue a lot of interests. I see a lot, I go to a lot of places (more now than before). So much that I have become overawed, and, in turn, passive where I should really be active. I’ve transformed into an absorptive entity. This cannot stand.
What good is pummeling my way through Plato, learning the art of frankincense distillation, taking weak little steps towards astrophotography, sampling weird Austrian wines made from the Zweigelt grape or solving confounding problems in the world of mobile Web development if I keep everything entirely to myself?