Bitterroot: The Life & Death of Meriwether Lewis, presented by Patricia Tyson Stroud

April 16, 2019
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Radnor Historical Society
April 16, 2019 to April 16, 2019
Selected by Thomas Jefferson to lead Lewis & Clark’s expedition of 1804-6 to explore the Louisiana Purchase, Meriwether Lewis was later rewarded by Jefferson with the governorship of the entire Louisiana Territory. Within three years Lewis found his career in tatters, and while returning to Washington he died mysteriously in a crude cabin in Tennessee. Without investigation of any kind, Jefferson, Lewis’s mentor from boyhood, asserted in a memoir that serious depression and alcoholism led to Lewis’s suicide. Most historians have agreed with Jefferson, but Patricia Tyson Stroud presents evidence to suggest Lewis’s discovery, the beautiful rose-colored bitterroot flower from that portion of the Rockies known as the Bitterroot Mountains, with its nauseously pungent root, produced an even darker ending for Lewis. Without doubt he died a violent death, but Stroud’s evidence is a fascinating addition to the 200 year old story of impressive accomplishments in such a short life, in the face of physical hardship and huge emotional challenges. Patricia Tyson Stroud has twice been winner of the Literary Award from The Athenaeum of Philadelphia and is a past honoree among the Best Books of the Year 2000 from the Library Journal. She is author of Thomas Say: New World Naturalist; The Emperor of Nature: Charles-Lucien Bonaparte & His World; The Man Who Had Been King: The American Exile of Napoleon’s Brother Joseph; and, with Robert McCracken Peck, A Glorious Enterprise: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia & the Making of American Science. Co-sponsored by Radnor Memorial Library & Radnor Historical Society. Books for sale by Main Point Books.