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Both separately and in collaborations, Tom Clavin and and Bob Drury have written non-fiction about complex and capable men involved in a certain part of U.S. history, often concerning western expansion. In their latest team up, Throne Of Grace, they create a spiritual sequel to their book about Daniel Boone, Blood and Treasure. here they go further into the west with a hale,,hearym and complex adventurer at the center.

Jedediah Smith was one of the first men to hunt, trap, and explore what we think of as The American West. Growing up in a middle class family and devoutly religious, he was fascinated by both the American indians and Lewis and Clark's expedition. As well as a Bible, he always carried a rifle and knife in the treacherous and violent wilderness he went into. He immediately earned work for The American Fur Trade that made John Jacob Astor the first millionaire. Smith's sober and pious behavior made him the perfect candidate to lead many of the expeditions.

On those expeditions were some colorful and capable men. He was probably closest to Jim Clyman, a stout and skilled colleague who Smith took to as a right hand man. Like Smith, he held a strong intellect, including a love of poetry. Hugh Glass, a rough humored trapper, survived numerous experiences that would have killed any other man a dozen times over. The protagonist of the book and film The Revenant was based on him. Jim Beckwourth, who both fought and lived with different indian tribes, served as comic relief with tall tales of his exploits. Jim Bridger joined The American Fur Company at a young age. He earned status as a legendary mountain man, partly due to his keen eyesight. All of these men have had their own books written about them.

Clavin and Drury use Smith not only as as protagonist to bring focus to the era, but to view the moral complexity of his adventures and the bigger picture of they connected to U.S. politics and economics. While we picture the mountain man as a solitary figure, we mainly see Smith and the others operating as a team with each applying their top skills to support the group. They explore virgin territory to trap and hunt pelts for the American Fur Trade and in doing so provided maps and knowledge of our country's new territory. Besides hostile indian, they also fought with the rival Hudson Bay Company from Canada. while Smith and others attempted to make alliances with native tribes, they also had no qualms of decimating others. Nothing is sugar coated, nor is anyone seen as completely villainous. The book views.a time of conquest where ambition and survival override all.

it is difficult not to admire the scher machismo, skill, and iron will of Smith and his fellow trappers. They survive living in blizzards, combat indians who outnumber them, quickly learn the new country's flora and fauna, and fend for themselves. You get a clear picture of the kind of leader Smith is when he's mauled by a bear that left him with his skull showing and an ear hanging off. He told one of his men, with no medical experience, to sew him up. They got him on a horse and he rode five miles to camp. Then Hugh Glass had his legendary survival experience with a bear attack. The book may question their morals at times, but not their courage and ability.

Throne Of Grace works as a look at one of the U.S.'s first major industry that serves as a grand adventure tale. We follow a group strong, stalwart, and skilled men roaming an untouched land in search of fortune and freedom, affecting the course of our country. Clavin and Drury bring it all to the reader, the stink of pelts, the breaths of crisp air. They put you on the keel boats and up into the mountains for a journey like no other.


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