Meriwether Lewis is the subject of Patricia Tyson Stroud’s magnificent biography Bitterroot: The Life and Death of Meriwether Lewis (University of Pennsylvania Press, $39.95). Stroud explains that Lewis had a “remarkable grasp of natural science” and was inspired by faith, respect and love. One considerable topic covered by Stroud in her book is whether or not Lewis committed suicide along Natchez Trace in Tennessee. “That Lewis died a violent death is incontrovertible,” Stroud writes. “Though the facts surrounding his demise are far from clear.” With the careful consideration of a seasoned historian, Stroud fleshes out the life—and the man. Who was Meriwether Lewis? A tragic figure? Sure. A man driven to suicide? Probably not, at least according to Stroud.
—Erik Wright, author of West of Hell: The Badmen, Hardcases & Intrepid Lawmen Who Made the West Wild