Why did I love this book?
Aside from the Colorado landmark, Pike’s Peak, most of us know little of Zebulon Pike. A relative passed along the tee-shirt, but that’s as close as I got before reading Jared Orsi’s account of Lieutenant Pike’s 1805-07 fascinating expeditions to the headwaters of the Mississippi and to the Rockies. Pike strives to establish friendly relations among the Ojibway and Dakotah and later among the Osage and Pawnee while introducing the tribes to their new landlords, the U.S. government under President Jefferson. In attempting to ascend the peak, Pike and his men suffer near starvation and death in bitter cold and waist-deep snow, only to be rescued and arrested by the forces of New Spain. Orsi approaches the expeditions from an environmental perspective.